Marloes Coenen is in a unique situation as both a pioneer and a contender.
The 35-year old Bellator Feathwerweight is a former Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion, and later competed for Invicta's Featherweight title. Despite being an important cog in the 145-pound machine at Bellator, she doesn't know of any plans for a divisional title, but refuses to look past her Bellator 163 opponent, the undefeated Talita Nogueira.
"No, I have no idea. I hope one day they ask me to fight for it but to be honest I’m focusing on this fight. I’m not going to underestimate my opponent. I did that the last time and I lost and it was a big lesson to me so I have a good champion on my hands and I’m really focused and I want to redeem myself. I want to show in the cage that I’m still a great fighter after 16 years in the fighting industry," Coenen told Fightful.com in an exclusive interview.
As mentioned, Coenen helped steer the ship of women's MMA as far back as 2000, when she won four fights over the course of three weeks. Since then, Coenen has faced the likes of Sarah Kaufman, Cris Cyborg, Liz Carmouche, Miesha Tate and others. While she isn't ready to hang up the gloves just yet, she does have an expiration date.
"Well, when I’m 40 I will not be fighting anymore (laughter) so I will take it one fight at a time. I don’t want to look past this fight because she is an amazing fighter, I know that. She looks very strong to me and she’s amazing on the ground and I don’t know what she brings standing up and grappling and having said that I’m also eying the Bellator belt of course. Those two fights are in my mind and after that then I’ll see what happens," Coenen said.
For now, Coenen has undefeated Talita Nogueira ahead of her at Friday's Bellator 163 card. Coenen is facing an unknown battle, because Nogueira has been out of the cage for years, and there's not much footage to be found. Regardless, Coenen wants to prove she still belongs at the top of the sport.
"I have no idea how she has progressed, so I don’t know how good her striking or her grappling is right now, so it’s very hard for me to see," said Coenen. "For her it’s very easy because she can find all my fights online, so she has an advantage there. On the other hand she can be ring rusty. We really have to wait and see what happens on Novemeber 4th. I’m ready, I’m so motivated after this loss, I really want to redeem myself and show people that I’m still top level, and in order to do that I have to make her tap or knock her out. I don’t want to win on points, I never want to win on points. With this atmosphere you don’t want to win on points. I’m really, really excited and I can’t wait to leave for the states."
Coenen takes on Talita Noguiera at Bellator 163 tonight on Spike TV. Fightful.com will have full, live coverage of the event.