Marloes Coenen has signed with Bellator MMA. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
After nearly a year without any female mixed martial arts weight classes, Bellator MMA has jumped back into the fold with a women’s featherweight division.
The promotion announced via press release on Thursday that Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd would be the first competitors included in the women’s 145-pound roster.
“We’re incredibly excited to bring in two of the best athletes competing in our sport today,” Bellator President Scott Coker said in the release. “We are making a commitment to bring back the female division to Bellator and feature some of the world’s best in the Bellator cage.”
Coenen is a former Strikeforce bantamweight champion and has amassed a 21-6 professional record along the way. A submission specialist, 15 of Coenen’s wins have come by way of tapout, including 12 in the opening round.
"After fighting professionally for over 15 years, I am honored to be invited into the Bellator cage,” Coenen saide. “Fighting for Bellator brings my spirit back for fighting. It is great to be working together with Scott Coker again as we both have the same vision on fighting. My style is fighting with the objective to knock my opponent out or to submit her. That is exactly what I am planning to do the very first second I step into the Bellator cage.”
Budd will enter Bellator having previously fought for both Strikeforce and Invicta FC. The Canadian is best known for her strong ties to muay Thai and currently is in the midst of a four-fight win streak.
“I’m ecstatic about the opportunity that Bellator is giving the 145 female division, and I’m especially excited to be one of the first females to fight for Scott Coker under the Bellator banner,” Budd said in the press release. “This gives me the opportunity to showcase my skills as one of the best fighters in the world on one of the biggest stages in the world.”
The two veterans are slated to face one another later this year.