Valerie Loureda, aka WWE's Lola Vice, explains admiration for fellow crossover stars Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler (2024)

Valerie Loureda was rapidly becoming a fan-favorite fighter, but always knew her path would eventually lead to a career in the WWE ring.

Loureda (4-1 MMA) debuted under the Bellator banner as a flyweight in 2019 and recorded a first-round knockout. Given her personality and her signature celebration, fans were immediately drawn to see “Master” compete.

Despite winning her first three pro fights and gaining popularity under one of the biggest promotions around, Loureda hoped she would grab the attention of the largest professional wrestling company. A few months after her last MMA fight in 2021, Loureda’s transition to become current NXT Superstar Lola Vice officially began.

“It’s actually been the hardest transition of my life,” Loureda told Under the Ring. “I’ve had to learn a lot, not just about the wrestling aspect, but socially at the (WWE) Performance Center. We have so many talented athletes from around the world, and it’s definitely very competitive.”

Loureda left her MMA career behind, walking away from the sport with her hand raised in a split decision victory. She hasn’t looked back since pro wrestling became a real possibility, and it shows as her character Lola Vice has quickly gained traction in the ring. Her real fighting skills have helped form the wrestler that steps through the ropes, giving her a unique style that differs from her peers.

“I’m grateful for my mixed martial arts background because it’s helped me be unique in this ring, and my moveset is very different than everyone else’s,” Loureda said. “I wrestle different than everyone else, and that’s what gives me the advantage in my fights.

“… The same effort and passion I put into MMA, I put into this, and I completely dove into it. I never missed anything. I went to everything extra. I was always willing to learn. I started from scratch, I started a brand from scratch, and I built Lola Vice to be what she is today. But also, every time I get in that ring, I try to be undeniable, and I’m just grateful that it got me to this point.”

Lola Vice competes at NXT Battleground on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. In an NXT Underground match, she faces one of two former fighters who helped inspire her transition to pro wrestling, UFC veteran Shayna Baszler. It’s a bit of a return to Loureda’s fighting roots, competing in the same arena where most UFC events occur today.

Welcome to The Underground. @lolavicewwe and @QoSBaszler will throw down in an #NXTUnderground Match THIS SUNDAY at #NXTBattleground!


— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) June 6, 2024

Baszler, a women’s MMA pioneer who began fighting in 2003 and fought twice in the UFC, began wrestling while still competing in MMA. She made her NXT debut in 2017, and has been going strong since.

Loureda was also inspired by Baszler’s good friend, Ronda Rousey, who made the transition from being one of the most popular fighters in the world to a WWE Superstar. Rousey dove into the deep end, debuting at WrestleMania 34. Loureda eventually hopes to reach those same heights, and have a long career as a pro wrestler.

“Shayna and Ronda are two people I looked up to a lot,” Loureda said. “You know, Ronda Rousey opened the doors for young women fighters like me to step foot in the cage, and Shayna was the first to make this crossover. When I was in MMA, I knew I wanted to be in the WWE one day, I just didn’t know when.

“So, when I got the call and I started studying, and I saw Shayna’s transition and Ronda’s transition, I admired them for the way they did it because people think, ‘Oh, you’re a fighter. You get in there and it’s easy.’ It’s actually the complete opposite. If it was easy, we would have a lot of MMA fighters in the WWE, but it’s an extremely hard transition. Only very special people can do it. So, I admire them for their hard work, but I know that I’m going to be best crossover in history of MMA to the WWE.”


Photos: Valerie Loureda through the years

Video: Watch Bellator veteran Valerie Loureda's debut as Lola Vice on NXT Level Up

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Valerie Loureda, aka WWE's Lola Vice, explains admiration for fellow crossover stars Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler (2024)
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