Marloes Coenen is considered one of the top women fighters in the world pound for pound, having fought in Japan, the USA, and the Netherlands, grappling and MMA. Born in the east of the Netherlands, she is currently living in Amsterdam, working in Communications in the IT sector, and training MMA. Twenty-six year-old Marloes trains out of the Tatsujin Dojo with team “Golden Glory” . Nicknamed “the female Rickson,” she has 14 wins and 2 losses, fighting at fighting at 65 kilos.
Marloes took some time to answer a few questions.
Roxy: Do you have any brothers or sisters? What do your parents do?
Marloes: I have two older brothers Arno and Rob. My father is retired but is still working as a cartoonist for newspapers and as a soccer trainer. My mother is a part-time teacher for kids between 2-4 years old.
Roxy: Did any of your family do any martial arts or fighting sports?
Marloes: My grandfather was in the World War 2 in the underground. He was an instructor in jiu-jitsu. Both my brothers have been training karate, and my oldest brother is still training Thai boxing.
Roxy: When did you start training martial arts? What kind?
Marloes: When I was 14 years old. I started with jiu-jitsu and soon practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu too. Before that I was playing tennis & volleyball.
Roxy: When did you start competing? Why?
Marloes: At the age of 18, before I did grappling and jiu-jitsu fights. My trainer, Maritjn de Jong started fighting in Japan for Shooto and that’s how I discovered the world of MMA. He became the president of Shooto Europe and for the first show he asked me to fight.
Roxy: Is the reason for competing the same as when you first started?
Marloes: Yes, it still is. After surprisingly winning the remix tournament in Japan in 2000, I quit University and started with full-time training. However, I didn’t get enough offers for fights so I went back to school again. But every choice I’ve made since winning the Remix-tournament has been based on my MMA-activity. I became sick one year after winning the tournament, and have been sick for years. Still I kept on fighting in Japan, because MMA is in my heart. It’s what I like to do the most. I do not care if I can make money with it or not, if I fight in small or big shows…I just love to train and go out there and fight.
Roxy: What styles do you train currently? Who do you train with now?
Marloes: I’m now with the team Golden Glory who also produces the Glory shows. A few
good trainers combine forces to form this team: the thaiboxing trainer Cor Hemmers
(who’s trained Sem Schilt, Ruslan Karaev, Alistair Overeem, Siyar Bahadurzada
(Shooto World Champion) ; also, Ramon Dekkers, Saki, Stephan Leko, Nieky Holzken, Challid Arab are a part of this team. Martijn
de Jong is responsible for the MMA-sessions. I started training with him since the age of 14 and he became like family. So therefore I know I will always train MMA. I also work out with my boyfriend, Roemer Trompert, a lot. He is a 3 degree black belt in tae kwondo and has been fighting all over the world before he started MMA. And I have been training a lot with Lucien Carbin, a thaiboxing legend.
Roxy: Who influenced you the most, whether it be a sensei/ trainer, or family member?
Marloes: That’s a tough question. I’ve never considered myself a fan of anyone. But I do have respect for a lot of people. From my grandmothers and my own mother, to Ramon Dekkers, to colleagues at my work. I try to learn from anyone. But for fighting I have a few heroes: Peter Aerts, Fedor, GSP. For the women fighters, Megumi Fuji and Megumi Yabushita, the latter whom I faced two times in competition.
Roxy: What style do you like the best?
Marloes: MMA, no doubt. It’s the synergy of MMA what makes that I love it so much. Only wrestling or boxing or only thaiboxing…that becomes too boring for me.
Roxy: How did you first get to fight in Japan? When? What was the experience like? Is it different from now?
Marloes: My first fight in Japan was in November 2000 (in LLPW – L-1 2000: The
Strongest Lady- actually, a pro-wrestling show that held an MMA event.) It was the week before I won the Smack Girl Remix tournament. I’d just started University and came home to my parents on Friday. One minute later, the phone rang, asking if I wanted to fight In Japan and that I had to answer immediately. That was a big YES. My mother was kind of hysteric that I could fight in Japan. My coach was already in Japan for a fight. It was fantastic! It was with head butts and elbows (they lost the elbows finally) and I was so nervous!!! But when I had to make my entrance I thought, “You came all this way to Japan, now you’re gonna fight no matter the damage.” I fought and beat Yuuki Kondo, who later on became a friend of mine.
Roxy: When was your most recent fight, and what happened?
Marloess: On the 27th of May, in the Netherlands. Not much happened and I was done in a minute. (win via arm-bar) The girl was little and a little overweight. The height difference was enormous. After the fight I wondered what the audience thought of it. But I heard they were amazed. (I’m always a bit loony when I fight and do not notice what happens around me).
Roxy: Can you describe your experience with the K-Grace tournament (2007), the first all-women’s Cage fighting event in Japan? (She arm-barred Majanka Lathouwers, rear-naked choked Tama-chan, but lost the third fight in a split decision against Roxanne Modafferi.)
Marloes: It was a good show for the audience. For me it was less good, because you won. I know why, but I do not like to make excuses. When you decide to fight, no excuses afterwards.
Roxy: Can you describe your experience with Smack Girl in general?
Marloes: SmackGirl are good people who are working with passion, like Kinya Hashimoto. I like people who work with their heart and just do it.
Roxy: What’s your most memorable fight?
Marloes: Megumi Yabushita, Remix finals (2000). I thought I would beat the little Japanese up. Not! She threw me for 3 rounds through the ring, hahahaha! I was so surprised when they called me the winner. *smile*
Roxy: What do you hope to accomplish as a fighter, and what are your goals?
Marloes: I want to fight more!! So I can quit my job and dedicate fully to training
Roxy: Do you have trouble finding fights? If so, why do you think that is?
Marloes: Yes, especially in the Netherland. In Japan I have fought the women of my height and weight…so I’m aiming now for America. *smile*
Roxy: Is there anyone you would like to fight?
Marloes: Who wouldn’t I fight?! I know I am the best in the world but not everyone knows that yet, hahahaha! So I want to fight the girls
who now gets the most attention, like Gina Carano for instance.
Roxy: You’ve won ten of your fights by submission. That’s impressive. Would you
say you always try to go for the finish in a fight?
Marloes: Yup, I hate winning on points and for the record I have fought more then 11 fights. 17 or something I do not know that exactly.
Roxy: You’ve also competed twice in the Abu Dhabi in the +60 kg division, first in 2005, taking third place, and then in 2007. What was that experience like, and how do you feel about that?
Marloes: Nice! I met girls who do the same as I do, and that is so great. I’m always training with guys. Even though they become good friends, with girls you share different things.
However, I do not like the mentality of some girls. Jumping guard, moving like a turtle. In one final, a girl was so afraid to fight that when she got one point, she kept laying in the same position for 20 minutes. Then you’re a fake. I think a real fighter takes risks and is thinking of the audience who pays money to see some spectacular fights. Megumi Fuji is a fighter
who just fights, who takes risks and has great skills. That’s why I respect her so much.
Roxy: What do you think about the current status of women’s MMA?
Marloes: Other than Gina Carano? She does a great job. I finally have hope that we women can become professionals. Pretty faces like Gina and famous faces like the wife of Randy Couture are needed to open the door for the women who really can fight. Everyone who’s complaining about the fact that they get all the attention..quit it and thank Gina and Randy’s wife. For the record, Gina can fight. And the wife of Randy has shown enormous heart after what happened to her jaw, respect for that.
Roxy: Do you have anything coming up?
Marloes: October, GLORY 8 in the Netherlands. In January, the Beast of the East in the Netherlands. Anyone who wants to face me…bring it on! And in the mean time I’m happy to come to the States *smile*
Roxy: Who should promoters contact if they want you to fight?
Marloes: Martijn de Jong from team Golden Glory, firstname.lastname@example.org