Bellator previously boasted a roster that included female fighters. After disbanding the divisions, new president Scott Coker is bringing the ladies back.
The promotion announced on Thursday that they have signed Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd to contracts and will help usher in female featherweights in Bellator.
“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.”
Prior to seeing Strikeforce dissolve, Coker helped give Ronda Rousey, Gina Carano, Cris Cyborg, Sarah Kaufman, Miesha Tate and others a chance to shine on the big stage.
Coenen is a former Strikeforce champion who sports an overall record of 21-6. She owns 15 submission wins to her credit, including 12 in the first round.
“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 has picked up four straight wins and is 6-2 in her career, including a 2011 loss to Rousey.
“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.”
The press release added that Coenen and Budd are scheduled to fight later this year on Spike TV.