Marlos Coenen, Bellator 174. Photo Credit: Bellator mma

Marloes Coenen claims she needs to prove she’s at the top of her game at Bellator 174, when she clashes with Julia Budd on March 3 for the promotion’s inaugural featherweight title.

Thackerville, Oklahoma will play host to the first women’s contest to headlined a Bellator event.

Coenen spoke to MMA Plus about her previous loss to Alexis Dufresne, in which Coenen stated, despite the weight difference, it was her fault for engaging in an emotional brawl with the Californian fighter.

“She was like fifty times heavier than me in the cage, I really felt that,” explained Coenen on her Bellator 155 loss to Dufresne. “That wasn’t the reason she won, she won because I was so mad at her, it became an emotional fight. I wanted to hurt her. I was a bit arrogant, got even more mad that I ended up in her guard and then I heard my corner say ten seconds and got even more mad at myself.

“Turns out they said 30 seconds not ten and she got me into a beautiful armbar and I didn’t have time to defend, the referee saved me. It was in my opinion, all my fault. I should’ve never been emotional or underestimated my opponent and I had to pay for that. It was a very good experience”.

The former Strikeforce champion is feeling confident ahead of her upcoming fight with Budd, who is on a seven-fight win streak. Coenen insists there is nothing to change from her last fight, in spite of the loss.

“There’s nothing to change, the lead-up to the fight was fine. There’s nothing to change, that’s the first time I can truly said that I lost as I’ve lost before but I knew what happened. I’m really excited, I’m training really well, I’m ahead of schedule, it’s been a very long road to get here and it’s building up to the climax, I can’t wait to step into the cage on Friday.

“Camp has gone really good, I’m training at my own gym in Amsterdam, been trained by my partner and I’ve never felt more energetic, more ready to go, feeling sharp, my combinations, everything is going really well. I want to test myself next week in the cage and I want to have the belt around my waist.”

Coenen on Scott Coker and following him from Strikeforce

The Netherlands native expressed her happiness under the Bellator promotion and cited CEO Scott Coker as the deciding factor in moving to Bellator, due to his proven track record in Strikeforce, where Coenen two-years of her career.

Looking ahead to Bellator 174, Coenen was critical of opponent Budd’s style, claiming “she only wins on points.” With only five of her fights having gone the distance, the Golden Glory athlete revealed why she likes to finish fights early.

“To me it feels like I’m not performing. As a fighter, you want to be the dominant fighter. A dominant fighter wins by a knockout or by a submission and secondly, there are people tuning in, people paying money to see us fight so it’s as simple as that.”

Expressing her delight at potentially becoming the first female alongside “The Jewel” to headline a Bellator event, “Rumina” recounted how the emphasis on women’s MMA has changed for the better over the years, eventually leading to her big moment on Friday night.

“When I was fighting in Strikeforce, I had to fight Miesha for the title and there was nothing in the press about us women. Women want to see women fighting in the UFC cage, that was just seven years ago. To see what’s happened in those six years with Bellator’s promotion, you know the UFC feels the heat and that’s why there’s now a featherweight title for women. There are big things happening in MMA. I think people are starting to realise female fighters and that’s amazing, I am really happy with that.

“It’ll be a really big moment because when I was 19 I won my first title and it changed my life. Then of course I won titles in Strikeforce in 2010, then seven years later the fans in my country start to become mainstream, it’s really important to get the title right now to firstly, show the world I am on top of my game but also to go with the momentum in the sport. It’s huge to me to win this title.”