Following her tryout during WrestleMania week in Dallas, female Bellator MMA fighter Valerie Loureda announced in late-June on Ariel Helwani's MMA Hour that she had signed a multi-year WWE contract and was leaving fighting.
The prospect was in attendance at last week's WWE WrestleMania 39 launch party in Inglewood, CA, at SoFi Stadium, and spoke to me about her experience with the company thus far, why she decided to pursue this career. and how her training at the Performance Center has gone just one month in.
Pro fighting vs. pro wrestling
"I feel like fighting is easier because when you go into a cage, you have one goal and that's to win or hurt that person. And in WWE, there are so many things going on and you do have to be a true entertainer. For me, the difference is striking but not striking to hurt someone. There are little things like that, but truly I love it. I am truly in love with it. I feel like a white belt again. I am just embracing the process and just getting better every day."
Loureda wraps up her MMA career with a 4-1 record after last fighting in November 2021.
Being the first Cuban-American woman to sign with WWE
During her announcement, Loureda said she was the first Cuban-American woman to become a WWE superstar. Since she had already amassed a following in MMA, I asked her why she decided to switch gears and head to pro wrestling.
"I became the first Cuban American woman in history to become a WWE superstar and, for me, that's an honor. I come from a family of immigrants and being able to represent my culture and show the martial artist that I am and the entertainer that I am at the same time is a dream come true."
Loureda says she plans to bring a touch of her "Latina glamour" that she was known for in MMA.
"I am trying to bring into the wrestling ring real fighting...MMA fighting with a touch of my Latina glamour that people knew of me in the MMA cage but really just adding my touch to this, making it mine but also showing that I am a true professional wrestler. I am going to be a great WWE superstar."
So far, she has only been training at the WWE Performance Center for the past four weeks. Although she's been "training very hard," she notes that she is still "very green" at this stage in her training.
"I’ve been training very hard. I have just been learning from watching other girls and learning from them and developing in my career. I am still very green in my stage but soon I'll know what ]I am doing and I’ll be out there in NXT."