Bellator 174 saw Julia Budd take a big step in her career after she won the promotion’s women’s featherweight title. However, MMA fans also witnessed the last outing of a pioneer in the women’s division as Marloes Coenen announced her retirement following her loss to Budd.

Coenen retires from Mixed Martial Arts competition with a 23-8 record, including a 2-2 run inside the Bellator cage.

Marloes Coenen conquers Japanese scene

Coenen made her professional mixed martial arts debut in 2000, submitting Yuuki Kondo - not to be confused with Pancrase champion Yuki Kondo - in the first round of their fight.

From there, Coenen went 12-2 in her next 14 fights - including 10 stoppages - with those two losses coming against Erin Toughill and Roxanne Modafferi in the finals of the 2007 K-1 Grace tournament.

After a successful run Japan, Coenen picked up a few wins on the European scene. Coenen signed a contract with Elite XC in 2008, but the promotion folded before she could compete in their cage.

Marloes Coenen - Strikeforce champion

In 2009, Coenen signed with Strikeforce and submitted Modafferi in her promotional debut. Coenen challenged Cris “Cyborg” Justino - known then as Cris Santos - and fell to her in the third round. Despite the loss, Coenen became one of the few fighters to take the Cyborg past the second round.

Coenen rebounded from the loss and defeated Sarah Kaufman to win the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title and successfully defended it against Liz Carmouche before dropping it to Miesha Tate. Coenen’s next stop on her combat sports journey was to Invicta Fighting Championships. She defeated Romy Ruyssen in the main event of Invicta FC 1, then followed it up with a submission win over Fiona Muxlow at DREAM 18.

Before joining Bellator, Coenen’s last Invicta was at Invicta FC 6, losing to Justino in the fourth round of the promotion’s inaugural women’s featherweight title bout.

Welcome to Bellator, Marloes Coenen

Bellator announced it signed Coenen to a contract and many figured she would be a fixture of the promotion’s newly established women’s 145 division.

She picked up back-to-back submission wins over Annalisa Bucci and Arlene Blencowe before her loss to Alexis Dufresne in May 2016.

The loss to Budd was a good note for Coenen to end her career on. It would have been great to see her win Bellator gold, but she has many accolades under her belt to where she can ride off in the sunset.

Props to Coenen for having a good mixed martial arts career. I raise a toast to her and all she’s done in mixed martial arts. Whether it was in Invicta, Bellator, Strikeforce or in Japan, Coenen made her mark on the sport and will be remembered for years to come.