Olga Rubin (6-0 MMA) is still relatively new to the sport of mixed martial arts. It’s not often that a fighter with only two and a half years of training is thrust into a title shot in a major organization. Yet, on July 12, Rubin will attempt to dethrone featherweight champion Julia Budd in the main event of Bellator 224.
Rubin has “worked her ass off” since her debut in 2016, but she still finds her current position surreal. Though she was undefeated, Rubin still lacked confidence in her abilities. It wasn’t until she took out Cindy Dandois, an MMA veteran, that she realized what she was truly capable of.
“After proving to myself and all the people did not believe in me that I could get in the cage with one of the best featherweights and dominate her. It kind of gave me that motivation. Also, my coach Brad Pickett said, ‘you don’t believe in yourself at all and after that fight [with Dandois], I really hope you do now.’”
Brad Pickett has not only helped uncover the confidence lurking within Rubin but with nearly 40 professional fights to his name, he’s also been a mentor; guiding Rubin’s development both in the gym and as her manager.
No one is unbeatable
With everything going right in her training for the upcoming bout, Rubin is aware of the task at hand. Julia Budd is almost a decade deep in the game of MMA. Budd is also on a ten-fight win streak and has defended her title twice. Rubin notes that she believes Budd has fought the who’s who of the featherweight division except for Cris Cyborg.
“Cyborg” is one of the best-known MMA fighters on the planet. For years, she struggled to find opponents her own size due to the lack of depth at women’s featherweight. That’s been changing in recent years. The former UFC women’s featherweight champion will test free agency after she competes in the final fight of her contract later this summer at UFC 240. Rubin hopes to see Cyborg in the Bellator cage. Not only would Cyborg add to the promotion’s growing women’s 145-pound division, but Rubin wouldn’t mind having a crack at her down the road.
“That would be amazing. Technically, she [Cyborg] has no division in the UFC. She can either go to Bellator is she wants to continue fighting MMA or she can go to the WWE. She’s a force to be reckoned with. If she goes to Bellator, this is going to be a really solid division.”
If Rubin were to meet Cyborg down the road, she’d likely be the underdog. That’s not a knock against Rubin, it’s just Cyborg has built quite the mythos around herself over the years. Rubin is fine with playing spoiler. She feels “comfortable in that position.”
Whether it be Budd or another world-class featherweight, Rubin doesn’t much care what the oddsmakers say.
“No one is unbeatable. You can beat them all. It’s just a matter of the right coaching the right skill set and obviously the drive. I’m a hungry wolf climbing up the mountain. I know she [Budd] is going to bring her A-game but my A-game is going to be extremely strong this time.”
Brandon is a long-time fan of combat sports who has covered them for various outlets since 2017.