Over the course of her first two Bellator fights, former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen has been able to largely do what she’s wanted in each fight, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t faced some hurdles.
In particular, Coenen was struck with a sudden bout of illness prior to her bout with Annalisa Bucci, though she was able to get a win in that bout. Coenen followed that win with a more substantial performance against Arlene Blencowe a year later.
“I wanted to finish (Bucci) in the first round, but what the problem was that I had to puke in the locker room,” Coenen told MMAWeekly.com. “I had something wrong, so I was a little afraid to ramp up the pace, but I finished it. I never want to win on points.
“Arlene is a really, really tough lady. She really hit me hard. But I hit her hard back, too. Everything what I wanted to do, I did. I think I showed a lot of technique in that fight as well.”
Coenen’s (23-6) recent victories were to have earned her a 145-pound title bout at Bellator 155 on Friday in Boise, Idaho, but with her originally scheduled opponent, Julia Budd, dropping out due to injury, a belt will no longer be on the line when she takes on replacement Alexis Dufresne (5-2).
“I was preparing for a title fight, so it was really a bummer when I heard that (Budd) couldn’t fight,” said Coenen. “When I heard that they came up with another opponent, I had already been training, so I just wanted to fight, even if it wasn’t for the title.
“When I look at (Dufresne), she reminds me of myself a little bit. I think she’s strong, and she wants to put me against the cage and take me down, but I think I’ve proven I can finish it (on the ground) as well. So in my opinion, I think she’s got a big problem.”
Having been fighting in one form or another for 20 years, Coenen knows she can be an example for other women, and she’s happy to fill that role, even if they do not follow in her exact footsteps.
“People try to put us in boxes,” Coenen said. “I don’t think that the boxes are fitting for women. You have to find the warrior within. If you don’t find it, then that person will be walked over.
“It saddens me that women do not fight with strength, that’s why I think it’s so important for women to go to the gym. Even if it’s just a cardio class, it doesn’t even have to be fighting, but I want to show women that you can go to a gym, see what it does to your body, to your mental side.”
While Coenen’s ultimate goal is to claim the Bellator featherweight title, for now, she’s got her mind set on facing Dufresne on May 20 before anything else.
“I’m really focusing on this fight first, because you can never overlook an opponent,” said Coenen. “Of course, she can throw a punch, anybody can be knocked out in fighting, so I’m looking forward to this fight and not looking past this Friday.”