Former Bellator featherweight champion Julia Budd has ended her free agency by signing with the Professional Fighters League (per ESPN). Budd had been on the market since beating Dayana Silva at Bellator 257 in April.
Recently the 38-year-old Canadian stated that she was interested in potentially returning to Bellator or testing her skills in the UFC. However, it seems PFL have come through with the best offer for the veteran.
After going 10-2 in pro kickboxing, Budd switched to MMA and debuted for Strikeforce in 2010. Her first MMA fight ended in a TKO win. Her next MMA fight was against women’s GOAT Amanda Nunes, though long before the Lioness found the form that would turn her into a legend of the sport.
Budd lost to Nunes, but rebounded with a decision win over another future UFC champion; Germaine de Randamie. Her fourth MMA fight was against yet another future UFC champion; Ronda Rousey. Budd lost Rousey by armbar.
After that loss Budd signed with Invicta FC and debuted there in 2012. She went undefeated in Shannon Knapp’s promotion, winning four fights before switching over to Bellator in 2015.
In Bellator Budd extended her win streak to 11 fights. Over that span she beat Marloes Coenen by TKO for the Bellator featherweight title and defended the belt on three occasions.
In 2020 she lost that title to Bellator newcomer (and, you guessed it, another former UFC champion) Cris Cyborg. She then won her last two fights in the promotion before seeing her contract expire there.
Budd is now set to face Invicta veteran Kaitlin Young in a lightweight bout on the undercard of the PFL championship event on October 27. It is expected that she will compete in either the lightweight or featherweight million-dollar tournament in PFL’s 2022 season.