“My mom was pregnant with me during her black belt test,” Loureda told MMAjunkie. “I guess you could say I was kicking from before I was even born. It’s in my blood. I haven’t gone a day in my life without throwing a punch or a kick. It’s who I am.” A 4th dan taekwando black belt, Loureda (0-0) is a former member of the U.S. Olympic team. Her father served as her grandmaster, training her “very old school and very old-fashioned.” The dedication paid off, and she progressed up the ranks of the taekwondo scene. But a moment in 2017 made her realize her true future lied in another direction. “Taekwondo was evolving a lot,” Loureda said. “It was becoming a lot of point sparring, so it was kind of going away from my style. I fought in the world championship and then I fought in a President’s Cup, and honestly, I kicked a girl and I broke her rib, and I wanted to mount her, even though I’d never done MMA before. That’s when I realized, ‘Wait, Valerie – something else is calling me. Something bigger.'” Loureda has been preparing for her professional MMA debut since that day, and her commitment has paid off with a Bellator deal. After three fights as an amateur, she’s expected to make her professional debut in early 2019. “Every day for the past two years, I’ve been training three or four times a day,” Loureda said. “I even changed college to be homeschooled. I do my college online so that I could kind of catch up and really understand all these arts together – just develop as a true martial artist. I followed my heart. I followed my instinct. “I knew the first time I stepped in the cage I was so comfortable that this was what I was naturally meant to do with my life, and I’m very blessed that Bellator after my last fight was able to recognize my passion and the message that I’m trying to send to the world as a martial artist, and I couldn’t be happier with this choice, and I know that we’re going to do big things together with this promotion.” Continued, Taekwondo master Valerie Loureda signs with Bellator, aims to be best fighter on planet She’s got talent. And should have no problem getting promotion team behind her.