Scott Coker, the first man to trust two women to headlining a major MMA event, is bringing back women’s MMA to Bellator. The promotion announced today they are introducing a 145-pound women’s featherweight division and have signed their first two fighters, Marloes Coenen (21-6) and Julia Budd (6-2). Both women most recently fought inside the Invicta FC cage, but will now bring their talents to Bellator.

Coenen, a former Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion and Featherweight Contender, is coming off of a loss to Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, but has long been a consistent member of the top five rankings at featherweight and holds wins over UFC contenders Liz Carmouche and Sarah Kaufman as a bantamweight.

Budd enters Bellator riding a four fight winning streak in Invicta with her last loss being way back in 2011 to Ronda Rousey in Strikeforce, where she went 2-2 for the now defunct San Jose based promotion. The two are set to fight later in the year.

This won’t be the first time women fought in Bellator, as the promotion once had a solid roster of females such as the number one 115 pounder in the world, Jessica Aguilar, and Ultimate Fighter 20 competitor, Felice Herrig. Bjorn Rebney disbanded that division in March of 2014, but Coker is bringing it back nearly eighteen months later.

While nothing solid is coming out of the Bellator offices, it has been widely reported that Bellator has engaged in preliminary negotiations with Carano. An exact date or location wasn’t given for the Coenen-Budd matchup, but it will take place on Spike TV.

Coker, when he was the CEO of Strikeforce, promoted the event Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg in 2009, which saw the first time women headlined a major MMA event. Carano was defeated by Cyborg via TKO in the first round and has not competed in MMA since. Cyborg has since gone undefeated in MMA competition and is the current Invicta FC Featherweight Champion.

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.