Marloes CoenenLooking back over 2011, former Strikeforce 135-pound women’s champion Marloes Coenen admits to a bevy of highs and lows throughout the year.

“It was a huge roller coaster for me,” she told “I defended my title, I lost it, and a lot of stuff happened with my team, Golden Glory.

“In a weird way I’m happy with everything that happened. I think it issued a lot of growth when stuff like that happens.”

Following her release from Strikeforce, Coenen spent an extended period of time in the U.S. rather than go back to her native Netherlands, and used her time stateside to her advantage.

“I ended up training a lot of wrestling with (two time Olympic alternate) Eric Akin because I really needed to work on that,” said Coenen.

“I stayed in Kansas with (Invicta vice president) Shannon Knapp and it was an awesome time. I ended up having a long vacation – but it was a workout vacation – and it gave me the energy and freedom to progress everything and make up my mind (on what to do next).”

Having not fought since losing her Strikeforce title to Miesha Tate last June, Coenen was understandably anxious to return to action, which she’ll do when she headlines Invicta FC’s debut Saturday in Kansas City, Kan.

“Especially when you’re coming off a loss, it does something to you so you really want to get a win,” she said. “It took a little while because (offers fell through) and management stuff, but I’m happy now having found a home in Invicta and I’m ready to take my next step in MMA.”

Coenen will be headlining the event against Romy Ruyssen in a rematch of their 2008 bout, which she won via submission in the second round.

When asked if she feels there will be differences the second time around, Coenen replied, “I think she’s progressed a lot. She’s on a four-fight winning streak with all the wins coming by submission in the first round, so she’s a dangerous opponent and I’m aware of that.

“I hope I’ve changed a lot. My work against the cage is better and my wrestling is better, and I’m about the same standing up and on the ground. I’m confident and I’m really strong at 145 pounds.”

Having come to the U.S. in 2009 as an unknown commodity to most of the American audience, Coenen has been embraced over the last couple of years, and she hopes to repay that kindness with a standout performance this Saturday.

“I’m from the Netherlands and nobody knew me, but all of a sudden they were cheering for me,” she said. “They’ve been so great and welcomed me back, so that way I hope I can make the American people proud and that they’ll come to the event and watch it online on the Invicta website.

“I am not American, but I hope they will like what I do and understand that I’m doing it to make them happy and that they have a good night.”

Invicta FC 1 streams live for free on Saturday, April 28

E-mail Mick Hammond
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