Julia Budd Invicta FCJust five fights into her professional MMA career, former kickboxing champion Julia “The Jewel” Budd has begun to put things together and now she feels like the next step of her career is right around the corner.

“I feel like I’m starting to get more comfortable in there and am starting to believe more in my skills as a wrestler, as a Muay Thai striker and am becoming an overall well-rounded mixed martial artist,” said Budd. “I’m way more comfortable and continue to understand the game more.”

Having alternated wins and losses so far, Budd was looking to win her first back-to-back fights coming off her victory over Elina Nelson at Invicta FC 2 this past July when she was slated to return to the company Saturday night in Kansas City, Kan., against Elaina Maxwell.

Unfortunately Maxwell was forced out of the bout with an injury and replaced with Danielle West just days before the event.

“I just stay the course,” said Budd of her fight prep. “I found a week out, but I was prepared for everything, so we said yes right away.

“Danielle is kind of a grinder and likes to go to the ground, whereas Elaina was a southpaw San Shou fighter, so it’s a difference, but I trained for a long time and worked on my wrestling a lot, so I’m ready to go.”

While West is less experienced than Maxwell, Budd is not going to fall into the trap of taking her lightly.

“I never underestimate anyone because I’ve been underestimated a lot in my career,” Budd told MMAWeekly.com. “So I know how not to underestimate people.

“I’ve watched her and studied (West) a lot. She also fought Elaina Nelson, and I’ve watched that fight a lot and others and I think I can definitely showcase my athleticism, striking and wrestling (against her) and take the fight where I want it, but I’m not underestimating her.”

With Strikeforce’s attention focused on the 135-pound division, it appears that Budd’s future at 145 pounds goes hand in hand with Invicta.

According to Budd, staying at 145 pounds is fine with her and she hopes to be able to contend for a title as Invicta grows and establishes championships in various weight classes.

“They’re planning on doing a title in each division – that’s what they’re saying – and they’re planning on keeping the 145-pound division active and I’m just looking for another great performance Saturday night,” she said.

“I’m happy at 145 and that’s where I’ll stay at. I’m not going to cut to 135. I’m staying the rest of my career at 145.”

Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for more Invicta FC news and updates.

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