Valerie Loureda Discusses Signing With WWE; Never Talked To AEW, Hopes To Debut In 2022

On Wednesday, it was officially announced that Bellator MMA fighter Valerie Loureda had signed with WWE.

Loureda and WWE had been tied together since WrestleMania weekend, when she posted photos of herself attending WrestleMania.

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Appearing on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Loureda detailed her journey to WWE, saying she officially signed on Monday.

"I have now become the first Cuban-American woman...I am now a WWE superstar. I'm really excited. I dedicated my whole life to Martial Arts and I feel like everything has come to this moment and this is my opportunity to showcase my culture and show the world the entertainer that I am," she said.

Loureda noted that she will no longer be competing in MMA, though it's reported that she is still under contract with Bellator. Loureda finishes her MMA career with a 4-1 record, having last fought in November 2021.

"Yes, my mind has completely shifted from MMA to WWE. All that passion and energy I have for MMA, that I worked for five years, I'm now doing that in the training facility in Orlando. I love fighting, but this is my time. I'm turning 24 next month, my first day as an employee of the WWE at the facility, this is the best birthday gift I could ask for," she said. "My first day is on my 24th birthday, July 19."

When discussing her training and her tryout, Loureda said she found wrestling to be harder than MMA.

"It's extremely tough. For me, it's actually harder than MMA. My first bump, I just knew I could do it. I had this feeling in my gut and my first bump, hitting the ropes, I just fell in love with it and I knew I could do it. It's tough, it's a hard transition, it's different than what I'm used to, but if you can re-wire your brain and change your mentality and realize what this is and how to be the best at it, you can be successful. I was with coach (Norman) Smiley the whole time and he was amazing and taught me so much. He stayed in an open ring after for like two hours and we worked and he taught me stuff and taught me different things that would work with my style," she said.

Loureda competed in Taekwondo at the 2017 World Championships and is studying sports journalism at the University of Florida.

Getting into expectations at WWE, Helwani asked if she would be able to keep her name.

"I don't know. Right now, I just have to go to the institute, work hard, trust myself and trust what they say. I would love to have Loureda in some part of my name or Cuban/Latina something, because I am the first Cuban-American woman. Just knowing that I'm honoring my grandparents," she said, thanking her grandparents for moving and helping to give her the American dream.

Asked when she thinks she'll be on television, Loureda said, "I have big expectations for myself. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I'll be on live TV. Hopefully, within a year, if I work hard, I'll be on the main roster. It just depends on what they say and how well I develop and improve and how quickly and if they think I'm ready. I trust them."

She also stated that she would like to be a babyface when she's on TV and said she's friends with Nikkita Lyons.

Loureda trains at American Top Team and said Jorge Masvidal told her to follow her passion to WWE when she was first thinking of making the move. American Top Team has an association with AEW as Paige VanZant is signed to the promotion. Loureda has trained with VanZant and is excited to follow her career.

When asked if she had spoken to AEW, Loureda said, "No. Team WWE, all the way. Nothing compares to WWE. It's a monster of its own and everyone knows that. It's a global organization. There is nothing that compares to WrestleMania. Who could pull that off?"

Loureda said she couldn't wait to share the ring with Charlotte Flair, who she has shared DMs with over the past couple of months and is one of her favorites.

She also discussed wanting to be a role model for her community and women, and how people who just see her photos don't know the real her, but she's excited to show them in WWE.

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