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Ex-Bellator champ Julia Budd testing free agency, eyes UFC, PFL

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Julia Budd said she’s looking for big fights in the near future.

Bellator 238 Julia Budd v Cris Cyborg
Julia Budd walking out at Bellator 238 to face Cris Cyborg.
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Former Bellator featherweight champion Julia Budd is currently a free agent. And she might be looking to continue her fighting career somewhere other than the Bellator cage—a place that has been her home for the past six years.

The 38-year-old recently spoke to MMA Junkie from her home in Port Moody, British Columbia and revealed she fought out her contract with a split decision win over Dayana Silva at Bellator 257 in April.

She told that outlet that she was eager ti test free agency for the first time since leaving Invicta Fighting Championships in 2013.

“At this stage of my career, I’m looking for big fights, money, being valued with the organization, and conversation,” said Budd. “I think as being a four-time champion for Bellator I deserve that sit down with Scott Coker and seeing what the next step for my career is there, if that’s an opportunity. It’s all of the above.”

Though she is interested in re-upping with Bellator, Budd said that Coker has competition for her signature.

“It would be good to talk to (the UFC), it would be good to talk to PFL and Bellator, But I want those top fights. I would love to be fighting for the UFC title, in the PFL tournament. Just the schedule of that is exciting. Then obviously with Bellator. I know for a fact Budd vs. Cyborg 2 would be amazing. If the right opportunity at any of those organizations came along (I would be interested).”

Budd debuted for Bellator in 2015 with a win over Holloway. Prior to that she had a successful four fight stint with Invicta. Budd started her pro career with Coker’s Strikeforce organization in 2010. She went 2-2 with that promotion with wins over Shana Nelson and Germaine de Randamie and losses to Ronda Rousey and Amanda Nunes.

Budd’s Bellator career started with a seven fight winning streak that saw her capture the company’s inaugural women’s featherweight title with a TKO win over Marloes Coenen in 2017. She defended that title three times.

In 2020 Budd took her first loss in almost a decade when she was defeated by Cris Cyborg. Since losing her title to Cyborg, Budd has rebounded with back-to-back victories.