Cris Cyborg will fight Julia Budd for the Bellator featherweight title on January 25th at an event in Inglewood, California. Bellator announced this news during the Bellator 228 broadcast on Saturday night.
The former Strikeforce, Invicta and UFC featherweight champion Cyborg signed with Bellator MMA earlier this month after she was released from her contract with the UFC. Some fans assumed that she would be signing with RIZIN or ONE Championship but Bellator president Scott Coker ended up welcoming her into the Bellator family. A promotional debut against the current featherweight champion Julia Budd has been in the works or several weeks. Now contracts have been finalized, the fight is official.
Cris Cyborg last fought in July when she beat the formerly undefeated Felicia Spencer to a unanimous decision win. It was the last fight of her UFC contract. Due to mounting tensions with the UFC, she was forced to reconsider her future in the organization. After several weeks of public disagreements and frustrations with contract negotiations, she was officially released.
Julia Budd has made a name for herself in Bellator. She became the featherweight champion in 2017 and has defended the title three times since then. The 36-year old hasn’t lost a fight against a Bellator opponent. Her last loss was against Ronda Rousey during her Strikeforce days in 2011.
Interestingly, both fighters have lost to the UFC’s current featherweight champion, Amanda Nunes. ‘The Lioness’ finished both fighters with first-round knockouts. Both times she achieved victory in under a minute.
When Julia Budd and Cris Cyborg step into the Bellator cage in January, it will likely go down as one of the biggest women’s bouts of the year. Who do you think will leave Inglewood with the featherweight strap?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/30/2019.