Four-time Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) world champion Julia Budd conceded her title to Brazilian-American Cris Cyborg in a hard-fought match last Saturday, her first loss in eight years.
“It’s not what we planned for as a result, but Jules is healthy,” said her coach and husband, Lance Gibson, from his gym in Port Moody where Budd has started training again, four days after the Bellator 238 featherweight fight.
The match lasted four rounds and ended in a technical knockout. Beyond bruises, she sustained no injuries. Her strategy was not to give up ground in the cage, but Budd was caught moving backwards in the fight, which gave Cyborg the momentum to win. “At this level, one mistake is vital, and it’s something we know we can tweak,” said Gibson, adding that Budd plans to win back the title.
The Jan. 25 bout put an end to the 36-year-old’s 11-fight winning streak, which tied her with Illima-Lei Macfarlane for the most consecutive title defence wins in Bellator.
“It was a fantastic show, it was the biggest fight in women’s MMA history,” said Gibson, speaking in terms of the calibre of athletes, their placing as the main event of the night, the capacity crowd and the venue – The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., former home to the L.A. Lakers.
One of Budd’s biggest takeaways from the match was the outpouring of support, Gibson said. Approximately 230 people from the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast attended the match. “After the fight, the love, it was something we’d never seen before,” he said, adding that Budd hugged everyone once it was over.
Budd had conclusively defended her Bellator Featherweight Title last July in a bout against Olga Rubin that ended two minutes and 14 seconds into the first round.
– With files from Canadian Press