Canadian fighter Julia Budd has only had two losses in her Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) career – Ronda Rousey and Amanda Nunes – but Jamisontown resident Arlene Blencowe is hoping to give the current world title holder a third loss when the pair go head-to-head next week at Bellator 189 in Oklahoma.
Blencowe and Budd last fought in Memphis in October 2016, with Budd getting the better of her Aussie opponent via a majority decision.
This time, however, Blencowe said she’s in a much better place both physically and mentally, and is determined to avenge her controversial loss against the fellow 34-year-old.
“Julia beat me by majority decision, it was a close fight but things have changed this year,” she told the Weekender.
“I’ve already won all three fights I’ve had this year and I’m hoping to make it four from four for an undefeated year in the ring.”
Before the pair’s first fight in 2016, Blencowe revealed she tore her MCL and ACL in her knee just six weeks out from facing Budd in Tennessee.
The local mum said she wasn’t in peak physical condition because of her injury.
“It really hampered my training because I wasn’t able to do a lot of wrestling and ground work,” she said.
“I learned a lot about myself that fight camp and during the fight itself.”
Following her loss to Budd, Blencowe hasn’t gone down since – winning major fights in New York, China and the Gold Coast in recent months.
With the help of her support staff, including coach Shaun Sullivan from Lions High Performance Centre, Blencowe is fit and ready to do battle this Saturday morning (Sydney time).
“I’m excited for this fight because I’ve had a really good camp and Shaun has really worked on developing my strengths and my weaknesses too,” Blencowe said.
“Things will be totally different this time. I’m a completely different athlete and a lot stronger mentally as well.”
And it seems Blencowe might have a slight edge over her opponent, with Budd only fighting professionally just once this year back in March.
“Julia’s only had the one fight since she fought me last year – she hasn’t been as active as me,” Blencowe said.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.