Coming off of two straight wins, former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen was looking forward to keeping things going in 2016, but the year ended up being more frustrating than anything.
First Coenen forged ahead with a fight against late replacement Alexis Dufresne, though Dufresne came in overweight, and ended up losing the bout. Then Coenen’s next fight was cancelled when Talita Nogueira missed weight and the match was cancelled.
“I could have refused the (Dufresne) fight, and I didn’t and I paid for it,” Coenen told MMAWeekly.com. “She refused to do the rematch. She would only do a rematch if it was for the title. It showed her lack of class and respect for the game.
“Then (Nogueira) failed to make weight… and that was pretty disappointing. All this energy needs to be released, and you cannot release it, so it takes a while to digest it. But you have to suck it up and go on.”
Coenen (23-7) takes on Julia Budd (9-2) in the featherweight championship main event of Bellator 174 on Friday in Thackerville, Okla.
“I was in Invicta doing promotion in 2013, and we were in Kansas and (Budd) was on the card fighting, and I knew I would face her someday, and that day has come,” said Coenen.
“She’s a great fighter, is very athletic, is very strong and has great endurance. I think she’s more fighting for points than for submission or KO, and that will play into my advantage.”
Though Coenen believes she has a distinct advantage in the fight, she’s by no means looking past Budd in any way.
“It will not be an easy fight,” Coenen said. “It will be a war. I know that. I’m preparing for that. (Budd) will not be able to knock me out, that will not happen, but I will not underestimate her.
“If I underestimate her, I would definitely lose. I’m expecting a war, and I’m mentally and physically prepared for that.”
17 years into her MMA career and Coenen still views championships as essential to her career, and is putting all her efforts into claiming a belt on March 3.
“This one is very special to me,” said Coenen. “Because of the long build up, because of Scott (Coker) being in the promotion, and for me it’s confirmation that I’m still a great fighter. It really means something to me.
“It would be really stupid in my opinion if I looked beyond Julia. This is a really tough opponent. I have my work cut out for me. My focus is on the belt, and I do not have any agenda beyond March 3 yet.”