When she considers her career journey up to this point, former women’s bantamweight champion Tiffany van Soest (18-3-1, 6 KO’s) is in no doubt as to where next week’s rematch with Anissa Meksen (97-4, 31 KO’s) ranks.
“This being a rematch against an opponent who took the title from me in such a close fight, we’re in her country this time, last time it was mine, it’s a chance or me to get back what is mine - of course it’s the most important fight of my career,” she says.
“I definitely think she fills that role of rival or nemesis. Everyone needs that one or two opponents to bring out the best in them and I think she and I do that for each other.”
It was December 1, 2017 when Van Soest entered the ring at GLORY 48 NEW YORK as defending champion, almost a year to the day she first won the inaugural title by beating the previously undefeated Amel Dehby in the final of the Women’s Super-Bantamweight Grand Prix.
The fight was Meksen’s third in GLORY. She had won her first two fights in the organization and was on a 32-fight win streak as a professional when she faced off with Van Soest.
It was truly a meeting of two fighters with legitimate claim to being the best in the world at their weight. Proceedings reflected that, with the pair being closely matched over a back and forth contest in which neither was able to really dominate.
After five rounds it went to the judges. They had seen enough to declare Meksen the winner - and new champion - by unanimous decision, but the fight was closer than the scoreline suggested.
“The night Anissa barely beat me… yeah every once in a while it comes back to my mind. Going into that fight and the events that led up… well, there’s no excuses to be made,” Van Soest says, breaking her train of thought suddenly.
“Her hand was raised and my heart was broken but if I focus on that then I am not focused on what I am going to do on March 9. At times it does wash into my mind but thats the past.
“I hate losing more than I love winning so this fight is definitely one I am itching to go at again… I have been diligently working to ensure I do what I need to do to get my hand raised and settle that score.
“And when they raise my hand next Saturday, I will be able to rest a little easier at night knowing the belt is back where it belongs.”
Tiffany van Soest challenges Anissa Meksen in the co-main event of next week’s GLORY 64 STRASBOURG event at the Rhenus Sport in Strasbourg, France.
The Saturday, March 9 event is headlined by welterweight champion Harut Grigorian as he faces off with former champion Cedric Doumbe.
Fans around the world can watch live on UFC Fight Pass and in France the event airs live on RMC Sport 4.