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Marloes Coenen happy UFC isn't making Cris Cyborg drop to 135 pounds

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Cris Cyborg is the best women's fighter in the world at 145 pounds, but for years there have been questions -- and hope -- about her moving down to 135 to face marquee names, starting with Ronda Rousey. The UFC does not have a 145-pound women's division, because there is a scarcity of elite talent at that weight outside of Cyborg, who is the most dominant female fighter in the world.

Marloes Coenen has been in Cyborg's shoes. She was asked to go down to 135 pounds from her natural division of 145 in Strikeforce. Coenen ended up winning the title at 135 there, but it was hardly a good experience. She said she wouldn't do it again "in a million years."

"I wasn't training," Coenen told MMA Fighting. "The only thing I was doing was dieting. I became emotionally unstable. When I was in the cage, my body didn't do what I wanted it to do. My coach said, 'do this, do this,' and I wanted to do it, but I just couldn't. "

That's why Coenen is happy to see the UFC give Cyborg a shot without forcing her to drop to 135 pounds. Cyborg will make her UFC debut against Leslie Smith at UFC 198 on Saturday in Curitiba, Brazil. The bout will be at a catchweight of 140 pounds.

"The UFC is doing the right thing by bringing her in at [140], because I think it would be a different Cyborg at [135]," Coenen said. ... "Her biggest weapon is strength. You take that away, what else does she got?"

Coenen (23-6) is very familiar with Cyborg. If Cyborg is the best women's featherweight fighter in the world, Coenen is second. Cyborg defeated Coenen via fourth-round TKO to win the inaugural Invicta FC 145-pound title in 2013. That's Coenen's only loss since 2011 when she dropped the Strikeforce women's bantamweight title to Miesha Tate. The last time Coenen lost at 145 was also against Cyborg in Strikeforce back in 2010.

Coenen, 35, said she watched Cyborg's open workout this week online and saw her former foe "spar" with a young girl. The Holland native was pleased with Cyborg's technique and agility.

"I really like her head movement and her speed," said Coenen, who meets Alexis Dufresne at Bellator 155 on May 20 in Boise. "Maybe we're gonna see a different Cyborg. I like Cyborg and I wish her the best. I like Leslie, too. In my opinion, she's a warrior, so I know it's gonna be a great fight and I really want to see that one."

Especially considering that it's not at 135 pounds. Coenen isn't interested in seeing Cyborg at that weight, nor would she ever get down that low again.

"It was really, really awful," Coenen said. "I would never ever do it again."

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