NEW YORK (Feb. 24, 2011) –STRIKEFORCE Women’s World Welterweight Champion Marloes Coenen, undefeated challenger Liz “Girl-Rilla’’ Carmouche
participated in a national media conference call on Thursday to discuss the upcoming STRIKEFORCE World Championship Doubleheader onSaturday, March 5, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, live onSHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
In the opening half of the doubleheader, Marloes Coenen (18-4), of the Netherlands, will risk her lightweight title for a first time when she meets Liz Carmouche (6-0), of San Diego, Calif., a replacement for the injured Miesha Tate.
Coenen captured the STRIKEFORCE crown with a dominant third-round submission (armbar) over defending belt-holder Sarah Kaufman on Oct. 9, 2010, on SHOWTIME. A strikingly attractive submission whiz, Coenen ousted Kaufman one fight after giving STRIKEFORCE 145-pound champ Cris Cyborg one of her toughest tests.
Carmouche is coming off an impressive third-round TKO (punches) over the more-experiencedJan Finney on Nov. 19, 2010. In her outing before last, Carmouche won a unanimous decision over Colleen Schneider on Aug. 13, 2010, in a “reserve bout” in the STRIKEFORCE one night, single-elimination women’s 135-pound tournament.
“I’m happy to fight on March 5. I was excited to fight Miesha, but I believe Liz is a very good replacement.
“If you are well rounded in all the areas of the game (it won’t be a problem). But Liz is a different fighter than Miesha is. I believe Liz is very talented and she’ll be a big star in the coming years. Her standup is OK, her wrestling is OK. I believe her standup is a little better than Miesha’s. It will be a fierce fight but there will be no problems for me. I’m looking forward to it and I’m all pumped up.
“Her standup is a little better than Miesha’s, but for the most part I train in every aspect of the game and we tweak it for each opponent we’re fighting.
“I believe when you’re the champion you should fight everyone so it doesn’t matter who the person is in front of me – I’ll fight them. Of course I was preparing for Miesha but I think I’ll get another shot at her again.
“There’s a huge difference (in the acceptance of women’s MMA). When I started out the word MMA wasn’t there yet and females in the cage was a unique thing that never happened. I fought a little in Japan and it was already accepted over there. But then Gina Carano came out and she really made the division grow and I really believe we should thank her a lot for putting up great fights and being so popular. I believe that’s a big part of why we can fight today.
“I wanted to learn to defend myself (that’s why I started fighting). I had to go to school on my bike through the forest and there were all these stories of dirty men doing weird stuff so I wanted to learn to defend myself and I ended up studying martial arts. It was like a 7 miles bike ride.
“I’m very happy with STRIKEFORCE because I believe it’s the leading women’s organization. To be honest, I believe the (men’s) heavyweight division in STRIKEFORCE is stronger than the UFC. I feel very honored to be fighting for STRIKEFORCE. I’m very happy with the organization.”
“I respect Marloes Coenen – she’s the world’s best. This is an opportunity to be the best women fighter in the world and it was an opportunity I just couldn’t refuse. I was excited and I’m still anxious to fight. Just to be around someone at this level and to have an opportunity is something I just couldn’t pass up.
“I think some of the things they (the military and MMA) share in common is the inability to give into the word ‘can’t.’ We kind of push it out of our repertoire in the military and I think that transfers over into our fighting career. If there’s anything in front of us that we feel is a challenge, it pushes us that much further and that much hard to achieve it. At no point will we ever stop.
“I started off being in the military and some of the things they taught me kind of encouraged me to go towards this.
“Absolutely (I get weird looks). I’m a full-time college student and some people think I’m just a normal person and then as the conversation starts to progress and they find out I’m a professional fighter that usually changes their whole perspective on me.
“I was in the Marine Corps for five years and four months. I was an electrician on helicopters. I did three tours in Iraq.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m an adrenalin junkie, more so that I like a challenge. I like pushing myself to see what I can achieve in life and I just want to keep bettering myself as a person. In the military you train so hard and when you work for something and you’re told you can’t do it it’s just a slap in the face because as a women you work just as hard as the men, if not harder. To be told you can’t be on the front line, it’s horrible. It just shuts down everything you work for. So I wanted that and to achieve it was just one more check in the box for me. In MMA it’s the same thing. I don’t ever want to be told I can’t achieve something so I work hard to be the best fighter I can be.
“I had no hesitations. This isn’t something that I could chance or turn up. I try and stay in shape year-round so when they gave the notice I was ready for it.
“Nothing about her game concerns me. I try to stay well rounded and well developed, but she’s the best in the world so of course there’s always that concern but I feel like I’m ready for that challenge.
“I think one thing that goes in my favor is my military experience. Jitters aren’t something that you can have when you’re out in Iraq with your weapon. So that definitely works in my favor.”