Marloes Coenen Exclusive Interview

Last month, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Marloes Coenen. Marloes “Rumina” Coenen is a women’s MMA pioneer and current Bellator featherweight.

Coenen (23-7) began her professional career in November of 2000. She would then move on to Strikeforce where she debuted in November of 2009. In Strikeforce, Coenen faced the likes of Meisha Tate, Cristine “Cyborg” Santos, Sarah Kaufman and Liz Carmouche. Coenen would go on to headline the very first Invicta Fighting Championships event ever when she faced Romy Ruyssen in April of 2012. However since October of 2014, Coenen has been fighting at Bellator, a promotion run by her former boss at Strikeforce Scott Coker.

Throughout the interview, Ms. Coenen and I discuss how she got into fighting, what it was like to be a female fighter at the time where WMMA was not as big. She also discusses her time as a professional before Strikeforce and Invicta, the problems she possibly faced when Zuffa bought Strikeforce, what it meant to her to be a part of Invicta’s first ever card and why she chose to go to Bellator. She even touched on the possibility of a move to the UFC.

Marloes Coenen Exclusive Interview

I would like to remind you that every answer is a quote from Ms. Coenen. I am eternally thankful to her for taking time out of her day to answer these questions.

AW: How did you get into fighting?

MC: As a young girl I had to bike to school. Partly over a road without a lot of traffic, desolated and surrounded by trees and fields. I wanted to learn how to defend myself. Kickboxing was too far away according to my mom so I started with BJJ. From there on I did grappling fights and at age 18 I had my first Shooto fight (amateur). That lead to opportunities in Japan and here we are today.

AW: When you first got into fighting, did you ever see it as a career or more as a hobby?

MC: Noooohoooo, let me remind you this was the pre-mobile phone era. There was no blueprint for MMA in the Netherlands. It was called free fight and we had a Minister of Sports who tried to forbid it. There were no female roll models and a career in fighting? It didn’t cross my mind.

AW: What was it like being a female fighter at a time when Female MMA was nowhere near as big as it was as it is now?

MC: Great. Everything was new and exciting. I was a teenager and got the opportunity to fight in Asia. In November my book will come out in the Netherlands in which is called “Power, Life Lessons from the Cage”. It describes my journey in MMA-land and the thing I have learned as a fighter. Things that can be applied to in daily life.

AW: How do you think having fought at K-Grace and BOTE help launch yourself, as a serious women’s MMA fighter, into Strikeforce and onto Invicta?

MC: Hhmmm..I think it helped building a record. Based on that I was invited to fight in Strikeforce. Prior to Strikeforce I had signed fight Elite XC but they went bankrupt before I could make my debut.

AW: When Zuffa bought out Strikeforce, did you at all think this might be the end of my pro career as a fighter?

MC: I had no idea. Dana wasn’t too fond of women in MMA. I always thought that was a dumb business move, excluding women, 50% of the population is female. Women identify with fighting women, not with men. That’s a big market to ignore.

AW: You were the main event on Invicta FC’s first ever card, in the first ever all female fight promotion, what was that like?

MC: Janet Martin flew out to Kansas to meet me and sign me for Black Eye promotions in North-Carolina. I was staying in Kansas at the time with Shannon. Shannon and I flew eventually out there. One thing lead to another and Invicta was born. I think it is great that women have a platform for themselves.

AW: Why did you choose to go to Bellator? Would you have made the same choice knowing what the UFC Women’s Divisions have become now?

MC: I didn’t get fights with Invicta on a regular basis. I was getting older and simply wanted to fight. Then Scott came up. Scott built Strikeforce to the point they were winning the fight with the UFC at the heavyweight level. Then the UFC bought Strikeforce. So I have a lot of faith in Scott and was more that willing to take the jump to Bellator.

AW: If the UFC called and said, “Hey we are going to make a Women’s Featherweight Division”, would you consider coming over and joining once your contract with Bellator is over?

MC: After my recent loss I only want one thing and that is to fight Alexis (Dufresne) again. For the rest I don’t care.

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