In a press release to the media early Thursday, Bellator MMA announced that is bringing back women’s MMA and it will at the 145 pound featherweight division. The first two women brought in are former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen and top ranked featherweight Julia Budd. They will fight each other later this year at a card yet to be announced.
Bellator MMA president Scott Coker is excited to bring the women back inside the Bellator cage.
“We’re incredibly excited to bring in two of the best athletes competing in our sport today,” Coker said. “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 has recorded a 21-6 professional record with 15 wins coming by submission and 12 in the first round. Ranked as the number two featherweight in the world, Coenen is ready to get back in the cage and put on an explosive performance for the fans in the first female fight under Coker’s reign in Bellator.
“After fighting professionally for over 15 years, I am honored to be invited into the Bellator cage,” Coenen said. “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 joins Bellator MMA riding a four-fight win streak and is currently ranked as the number three featherweight in the world. Having previously fought for Strikeforce and Invicta, the Canadian striker is known for her strong Muay Thai background and is looking for a strong finish in her return to the bright lights.
“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. “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.”
Bellator MMA had absolved their women’s MMA divisions in 2013.