Valerie Loureda is set to become the latest MMA fighter to take a shot at WWE stardom.
The 23-year-old Miami native appeared Wednesday on “The MMA Hour” to confirm she has signed with WWE and has been training at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla., to prepare to join the promotion full-time next month.
Fightful Select reported on June 1 that Loureda had taken part in a week-long tryout this spring and made a “great impression.” Loureda also hinted at career news on social media prior to her announcement, tweeting that “my life will never be the same.”
“I am now a WWE Superstar,” Loureda said, tearing up as she did so, discussing her difficult background and the journey it’s taken for her to get to this point.
“Yes,” Loureda said when asked if she was done with MMA. “My mind has completely shifted from MMA to the WWE, and all that passion and energy I have for MMA that I worked for five years, I’m now doing that in a training facility in Orlando. I love fighting, but this is my time”
Loureda’s background prior to starting her MMA career was in taekwando, earning a 4th dan black belt and a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. She signed with Bellator in 2018 and made her professional debut on February 2019 while training with a gym that’s had plenty of visibility in pro wrestling as of late, American Top Team.
All five of Loureda’s fights to date have come under the Bellator banner, where she’s gone 4-1. Her most recent bout, a split decision victory over Taylor Turner, came at Bellator 271 last November. She will remain under contract with Bellator should she change her mind and decide to return to MMA down the road.
“Valerie Loureda is a very young and talented athlete who can accomplish plenty in MMA for years to come, but for now we wish her the best of luck as she pursues her dream of becoming a WWE Superstar,” Bellator president Scott Coker said to MMA Junkie’s Nolan King when asked for comment. “She will remain an active and under-contract fighter with Bellator, and we look forward to welcoming her back into the cage in the near future. We take great pride in allowing our athletes to test themselves in additional arenas such as boxing and pro wrestling.”
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Given her inexperience in pro wrestling, WWE’s NXT brand will likely be the first place Loureda will appear if and when she makes it to TV. Another thing to watch will be whether WWE allows her to perform under her real name; Loureda already has a sizable following on Instagram and Twitter, but WWE has been increasingly insistent on marketing performers under stage names it can control.
However she’s announced when she makes her first walk to the ring during a live WWE event, Loureda figures to be a name whose progress will be tracked with interest by MMA fans, her social media followers, and now, pro wrestling fans as well.