Marloes Coenen is no stranger to Cris "Cyborg" Justino. Many consider the Dutch featherweight Cyborg's biggest test yet, despite dropping both of their fights. As Coenen readies herself to capture a Bellator 145 pound Championship, she tells Fightful.com that she's let go of any ill will towards her longtime rival.
The UFC created a 145 pound division for Cyborg, who wasn't able to compete for the inaugural title while sorting out an issue with the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Coenen says despite Cyborg gaining a retroactive therapeutic use exemption, that cloud will hang over Justino's head. Coenen doesn't think Cyborg will have much of a problem with her top two opponents, though.
"I like Cris Cyborg a lot even though she beat me up twice, really good," Coenen laughed. "She's a really good person, even though she got caught using stuff. I really disapprove of that. It will take away some of her accomplishments in the sport, but she's a true fighter. I think Cris Cyborg is way too well rounded for Holly Holm and Germaine (de Randamie), even though Germaine is Dutch and I'm with her (laughs). Holly started grappling when she was 30. I don't think Cris (Cyborg) will be exposed here."
Coenen has fought a who's who in MMA, and last took on Cyborg at Invicta FC 6 in 2013. However, Coenen says Cyborg's prime was in January of 2010 during their first bout.
"The second time I fought her, I had a lot of stuff on my mind, private stuff. The first time I fought her, it was like she was throwing bricks at my head, I'd never seen something like that ever before. The second time, the punches weren't as hard anymore. I don't know how much fight she has in her, I'm worried about. It will help that she doesn't have to cut to 140 anymore," said Coenen.
Coenen takes on Julia Budd for the inaugural Bellator MMA Featherweight Championship at Bellator 174 Friday, March 3 from the Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Fightful will have full, live coverage of the event.