When former Strikeforce featherweight champ Cristiane Santos came forward to criticize bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey’s refusal to move back up to 145 pounds for a fight between the two talented competitors it was to be expected. However, another well-known female fighter who once held Strikeforce gold has also started to question Rousey’s intestinal fortitude when compared to her own meeting with “Cyborg” in 2010.
Marloes Coenen, who wore the belt Rousey currently straps around her waist, lasted nearly fifteen minutes against the brutish Brazilian before eventually succumbing to strikes. With Rousey unwilling to take the same risk, Coenen has been left wondering if “Rowdy Ronda” is a legitimate fighter or simply a skilled athlete.
“She is a great grappler. The way she took out Sarah Kaufman was amazing and so unexpected to me. But she does lack balls,” said Coenen in an interview with Punch Drunk Gamer. “She judo’d at 154 pounds, entered Strikeforce at 145 pounds and when she had to fight Cris Cyborg she dropped to 135 pounds.”
“Having said all this, career wise it was really smart of her and she deserves a masters in PR. She doesn’t care how she gets there, as long as she gets there. And she’s successful at it, looking at the magazine covers like ESPN and changing Dana White’s mind (about women’s MMA),” added Coenen, giving Rousey credit for her approach to business even if it lacks a certain level of courage.
Rousey’s unwillingness to fight “Cyborg” at 145 pounds (or even 140) has mainly to do with Santos’ association with steroids. Santos is currently serving a year-long suspension after testing positive for Stanozolol after her last fight and has been linked to PEDs since making her Stateside debut based on her shredded physique. While Coenen understands Rousey’s concerns based on her own opinion of Santos prior to their pairing, the Dutch submission specialist didn’t let it keep her from agreeing to the fight.
“I can be quite naive, but I knew what she was doing when I had to fight her. It was my decision to step into the cage with her. So I have to suck it up as well,” admitted Coenen.
Currently the 20-5 Coenen is not scheduled for any future scraps though she has a deal to compete under the Invicta FC banner. She was last seen outpointing Romy Ruyssen in April.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE