Julia Olivia Budd (aka “The Jewel”), born on 4th, July, 1983 in British Columbia, Canada, is a Muay Thai fighter-turned MMA competitor with a record of 15-3. The 38 year-old Canadian kickboxer and mixed martial artist is the first ever and former Bellator Women’s Featherweight World Champion.
As far as Bellator goes, records indicate she’s ranked the no.4 Women’s, pound-for-pound fighter and no.1 Women’s Featherweight (however, as of July 2021, she is now free from her contract – exciting news!).
She amassed a super-impressive record of 10-2 in Muay Thai competition before beginning to train in MMA at the end of 2008. In August 2014, Budd signed with Bellator where she defeated Gabrielle Holloway in her debut.
She was drawn to Muay Thai practise from her high school days, training for several years before going on to defeat future MMA superstar Gina Carano in a Muay Thai competition.
Budd’s historic MMA journey began with a win on October 23, 2010, at Strikeforce Challengers: Bowling vs. Voelker. However, she also faced her first major MMA career defeat against Amanda Nunes who knocked her out in the first 14 seconds of that match.
Budd made a comeback victory defeating Germaine de Randamie at Strikeforce Challengers: Fodor vs. Terry, thus avenging her Muay Thai competition loss.
In her third fight at Strikeforce Challengers, Budd was submitted into an armbar by none other than Ronda Rousey. Two quick setbacks at the beginning of anybody’s career would’ve raised doubts and second thoughts on one’s ability at this more elite level. But nothing would stand in the way of Julia Budd’s progress.
Learning from the stepping stones of her initial setbacks she accomplished the almost impossible. For the next 8 years until 2020, Julia rose to glory achieving an 11-match undefeated streak to become the first ever Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion.
Dethroned by Cris Cyborg of her Bellator Featherweight title in 2020, “The Jewel” nonetheless earned the biggest payout of that event, a cool $350,000. Now Budd is poised to reclaim victory after her recent Bellator 257 win against Dayana Silva in April this year. Addressing the media after her win, Budd said, “I never accept failure”.
Now you’ve got a brief snapshot on “The Jewel’s” background let’s bring the sheen on Julia Budd’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Elina Nilsson – Invicta FC 2 (July 28, 2012)
After suffering a defeat at the hands of Ronda Rousey in her last MMA bout, Budd made her debut at Invicta FC in Kansas City, USA.
Fast-forwarding into round 1, “The Jewel” surprises Nilsson with a takedown whilst Nilsson was looking to attack with a jab.
Budd squeezes her opponent leveraging her body weight whilst Nilsson strains hard to evade the attack as far as possible.
At 2:35 into the same round and it was fireworks! Budd began to nail Elina with ground and pound. Stacking sharp elbows from both arms landing on her mouth and head as “The Jewel” inched closer toward victory.
Referee Michelle Browning intervened at 3:49 of round 1 as “The Jewel” sealed the match via KO using punches and elbows.
4. Vs. Olga Rubin – Bellator 224 (July 12, 2019)
The Bellator Featherweight Championship was on the line as Julia Budd faced undefeated fighter, Olga Rubin (6-0) from Moscow, Russia.
At the bell, the match was underway with both fighters locked and loaded – all set to make their presence felt on the MMA stage.
Moving quickly on their feet, the fighters changed stances, appearing clinically poised, analyzing when to unleash their inner animal.
You could see Julia Budd was feeling it in her veins today, harboring intensity on tap to thrash her opponent with conviction. Julia served up several high kicks to bring Rubin down.
At 2:04 into round 1, Budd ‘thwacked’ an intense kick to Rubin’s gut that froze her as she tries to look unmoved.
Then, Budd went full-on berserker mode with fast-striking, big right hands upon Rubin’s nose combined with knee strikes as her quarry collapses to the ground.
Referee Jason Herzog intervened to call the match at 2:14. It was just just a sheer, heinous, striking masterclass put on by Budd.
It’s was all over with a round 1 TKO win with Budd successfully retaining her Featherweight title for the third time in a row.
In a post-match interview, Budd said she wanted to make history by facing the big lady, Gabi Garcia, and that she’s happy Gabi is close by, i.e., also signed with Bellator!
3. Vs. Talita Nogueira – Bellator 202 (July 13, 2018)
Here, Budd took on the unbeaten (7-0) Talita Nogueira, in her second title defence of the Bellator Women’s Featherweight Championship.
At the start of round 1, the fighters threw demo punches taking their time to make calculated, timely moves.
At 3:05 into the round, catching a kick from Talita, Budd directed her to the corner, grabbing her hip to exact a takedown, which she followed up with a forceful right hand to her face.
Already mounted sideways, Budd rocked Talita’s head with devastating punches. A trap was secured to permit clean, brutal elbows by Budd which destroyed her opponent’s thighs.
“The Jewel” then rendered quick, left-right hooks, enough to bare her predatory intentions for the remainder of the match. By this time, Talita had had enough. She pushed forward looking to make a harsh connection of sorts, Alas! however, it didn’t quite go her way.
Directing Talita to the corner, Budd went for a clinch whilst smashing hard-hitting knees on Talita’s hamstring and furiously wiping her face against the steel cage and relentlessly targeting her core with tough knees at 3:45 of round 2.
Budd, now with her “beast mode” fully activated, just ransacked Talita with seismic-scale punches to the face causing her to sink to the ground.
With blood spilling everywhere, referee Jason Herzog, witnessing the Budd’s final ground and pound deathblow, quickly intervenes at 4:05 of round 3 to call the end. Budd won the match via KO ground and pound.
In the post-match interview, Budd insisted that she’s never tired of listening to the cheers of the crowd and is super-excited to defend her title against Conor McGregor‘s training partner Sinead Kavanagh.
2. Vs. Arlene Blencowe – Bellator 162 (Oct. 21, 2016)
In round 1, Budd, the favourite to win this match, traverses the ring and around Arlene as she strides forward, her hands going back and forth like a piston whilst keeping her opponent on her radar.
Positioning her left leg to shoot down Blencowe’s throat, kicks collide with an audible thud.
A plethora of attack and defence maneuvers in the first round by both fighters aren’t quite managing to land home on any sweet spot.
Shrugging off a kick from the champ, Blencowe is quick to land a punch. Budd reverses the clinch and gets herself into a dominant position with a couple of knees, then tosses her opponent to the ground.
At 4:32 into round 1, Budd ploughs all her weight into her opponent and takes the advantage by using bludgeoning elbows which she wields like axes to the side of Blencowe’s head.
Chaos erupts at the side of the cage with Budd again quickly capitalizing with another scintillating takedown.
At 3 minutes into round 2, Budd clinches Blencowe and drags her leg to the ground leading to a barrage of stone-clad, short-arm jabs to her ribs and unforgiving elbows to her head. Round 2 ends with Budd dominating over her, a theme that carried through for the rest of the match.
At 5 minutes into round 3, a takedown attempt by The Jewel was halted as the bell sounded. Julia Budd was declared the winner by majority decision.
1. Marloes Coenen – Bellator 174 (March 3, 2017)
This historic main event was fought for the vacant Bellator MMA Women’s Featherweight Championship in Oklahoma, USA.
In round 1, Budd snatches Coenen into a clinch, pulling her up high before power-bombing her to the ground and mounting over her. Coenen puts a grip on, forcefully pulling Budd’s neck to her chest sparring her arms with a frenzied attack.
At 3:30 in, Budd scrambles on her shins, and creates space to attack Coenen’s face with a couple of sharp elbows. “The Jewel” remains on top of Coenen in search of a quick match finish.
Budd, now altering her approach, performs a smooth, side takedown as round 2 comes to an end.
In round 3, Budd soon exhausts her opponent by forcing her entire weight to rest on her body while she attacked her ribs with hazardous right-hand jabs.
Budd continued to overpower Coenen, forcing her to the side of the cage to exact an explosive elbow strike on her face.
Coenen didn’t possess enough endurance bandwidth to both grapple and deflect Budd away from taking further advantage. “Keep going!”, Budd’s husband, Lance Gibson yells out loud, as Budd moves forward to annihilate Coenen with ground and pound.
At 2:42 of round 4, seeing Budd batter her opponent with powerful, left-right striking, and seeing Coenen’s face looking worse for wear, referee John McCarthy intervenes to annul any further punishment. “The Jewel” won the match via KO, ground and pound punches.
Julia Budd became the first-ever Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion. In her post-fight interview Julia thanked her family and friends at sunshine coast for standing by and supporting her. “I couldn’t do it without you guys. I got the finish…”