First things first, how does it feel to be the champion of the world?
Surreal! It’s crazy, having a goal for so many years and finally achieving it.
Did the fight go according to plan for you? What was your strategy and did you see yourself finishing her when you did?
Not exactly, but I knew that I was ready to fight everywhere. I knew that once I gained mount, I would finish it but again, I was prepared to go all five rounds if I had to.
Who was Julia Budd before martial arts? How have you changed as a person throughout your career?
Martial arts have definitely moulded me into who I am today- the respect, discipline, dedication and commitment I have learned along the way have definitely bettered me as a human being. I was always an athlete, even before. But I knew right away I had found my purpose when I started training.
As many fans will know, you were a professional kickboxer before transitioning to MMA. How do you think your kickboxing background has helped you throughout your career?
I think it’s given me confidence in my stand-up game, it’s given me ring experience and it’s definitely my first love. It’s what hooked me to training and taught me the commitment I needed to bring into my MMA game.
How important is it for a fighter to be well rounded, rather than an expert in just one art?
I think it’s so important. It’s an unforgiving sport, and not having confidence in a certain area will expose you, maybe not right away but eventually.
Do you think it’s essential to have at least one discipline under your belt before starting MMA?
No. I see the kids at our gym who are 5, 6 and 7 years old training it all and they are good everywhere.
Throughout your career you’ve seen women’s MMA grow to amazing heights. What do you put that down to?
I think that it has a huge part to do with women stepping up their skills, believing in themselves and putting it all on the line and fighting their hearts out.
People credit Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Gina Carano and the like for pioneering women’s MMA, but how big of a part do you think you’ve played in drawing attention to the women’s side of Mixed Martial Arts?
I think all of us women fighting and following our dreams in martial arts inspire others. So I know I’ve been a huge inspiration for people.
Bellator has grown astronomically over the past couple of years with some huge signings. How big can you see Bellator growing as a promotion?
Huge. It already is up there with UFC, but sky is the limit.
Do you have any ideas on who you’ll be defending your title against? Would you like to defend the belt at Bellator 180?
I would love to fight at Bellator 180, and there hasn’t been anything said yet about my next opponent, but we will be talking soon.
You’ve fought for most of the larger promotions in the world, but you’ve never stepped foot in the UFC Octagon. Is that something you regret? Would you ever like to fight there?
No, not necessarily. I’m very happy at Bellator and I also want to see how the 145 pound divisions play out.
You’ve fought under Scott Coker in Strikeforce and now Bellator. What’s he like to work with?
He’s always promoted the women, so I’m a fan of his.
Do you think that claiming the Bellator title makes you the best featherweight on the planet? If not, who is the best?
I think I am up there for sure, I have to be honest. I think Cris (Cyborg) is number one and I am number two.
One of your former employers, Invicta FC has grown into one of the biggest promotions on the planet. How important is it that women’s MMA has its own spotlight on such a big platform?
I think Invicta is doing an amazing job and has helped grow women’s MMA in a way that other organisations have never done. I think that has to do with it being a women’s run organisation. So thank you Shannon Knapp.
How would you compare Bellator’s featherweight division to the UFC’s featherweight division?
Ours is the definitely the best in my opinion.
Do you have any other goals that you would like to achieve in your MMA career?
Yes. I want to successfully defend my belt this year.
Other than kickboxing, are there any other martial arts that you enjoy watching or participating in?
I love boxing and wrestling. I’m a fan of all martial arts and I watch them all.
What would you say is the best thing about being a Mixed Martial Artist?
I think that it’s got to be that I’m doing what I love.
What would you say is the toughest thing about being a Mixed Martial Artist?
The highs and lows that come with competing.
What fight has been the toughest for you, whether it be the fight itself or the build up?
Probably the way I felt fighting Roberta Paim Rovel.
What has been the best fight for you?
I think my fight against Marloes (Coenen) was definitely up there. Also, my first fight in MMA. Just having no expectations and that freedom that comes from just letting go and flowing.
What do you think about the Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather talks? Do you think it can benefit MMA in any way?
I think it will. It will definitely have everyone watching.
What is your opinion of the talk of the athletic omissions removing marijuana from the banned substance list? Do you see this being good for fighters who chose to smoke it?
I think it should never have been on the banned substance list in the first place.
When you aren’t fighting or preparing for a fight, what do you enjoy doing? How does Julia Budd unwind?
I travel, hike with my dogs. I hang out with family and friends. I eat out and shop. I have no problem unwinding.
How important do you think it is to have outside hobbies?
It is important to avoid burnout.
We at MMA Thread would like to thank Julia for answering some questions for us.
You can follow Julia on Twitter @JuliaBudd
We wish Julia the best of luck with her career.