Months have turned to weeks, weeks have turned into days and now we are just hours away from witnessing the first ever female UFC fight between champion Ronda Rousey and challenger Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 157. It’s a pivotal moment for female fighters all over the world and while all of the hype is centered on Rousey, we can’t forget that there are many others who helped build and elevate women’s MMA to where it is today.
Sarah Kaufman is the perfect example of a competitor who helped stir the ingredients together in the WMMA soup. A former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion, Kaufman was the queen of the 135’ers before Rousey turned to MMA. Unfortunately she was also Rousey’s last armbar victim and was finished by the champ in the first round of their August bout for the Strikeforce title.
Kaufman won’t be fighting for the UFC yet but we can certainly expect to see the hard hitting Canadian in the Octagon very soon. On April 5, Kaufman makes her debut for the Invicta Fighting Championship against rising star Leslie Smith. She is under contract with ZUFFA but explained to us exclusively on BJPenn.com Radio that she is able to fight for both organizations.
“I don’t know how long [the UFC will allow female fighters to fight for Invicta] and it depends on how the UFC’s women’s division goes but Shannon Knapp has a great relationship with both Dana White and Sean Shelby. I’m on loan from the UFC to Invicta right now,” Kaufman told BJPenn.com Radio.
“ZUFFA has first rights so they can say yes or no [to someone fighting in Invicta] for you but they are giving permission. It’s a great relationship to be able to work for both in case one or the other doesn’t have a fight for you at that time so you don’t have to wait for a fight for too long.”
Before she steps back in the cage, Kaufman will watch her WMMA comrades make history Saturday night in what she believes will be an epic clash. She doesn’t mind that the UFC is putting most of their attention on Rousey but she is also confident that the division will quickly become less about Rousey and more about the depth of talent.
“It’s a huge moment for females in the sport and I do have a little bit of jealousy that I am not in that first spot of course but overall it’s an incredible thing. To go from five years ago to where we are now is amazing. They’re really pushing Ronda Rousey and I want to congratulate Liz Carmouche for getting this opportunity,” Kaufman said.
“The fact that they are also announcing more female fights and signing other fighters is a very positive sign while they go through a trial period to see how the fans react. I’m 100% sure that fans are going to love to see the females fighting in the UFC. We all come to fight and maybe this is bringing out our cattiness but we want to prove everyone wrong and that we do deserve to be here, even though we’ve already proven it more than enough at this point.”
With all of the promotional buildup and marketing being centered on Rousey, some fans are worried on what the aftermath will be if Carmouche upsets her and takes the belt. UFC President Dana White has said on multiple occasions that “this is the Ronda Rousey show” and even though it seems his stance on WMMA has changed, there is a concern that the UFC might remove the division without Rousey as the frontrunner. Kaufman realizes that anything is possible in this sport but doesn’t think fans should worry. Women’s MMA is here to stay regardless of whether Rousey has the gold or not.
“I definitely think there is a possibility that ZUFFA and the UFC will [disband the women’s division if Ronda loses] but I know that Joe Silva and Sean Shelby are super supportive of the females. Dana White has come along too and has noticed that there are all of these talented females all over the world that are ready to fight,” Kaufman said.
“Regardless of the outcome it will be an exciting fight and whether Ronda wins or loses she’s still going to have that publicity behind her and still market her and give her a rematch if she does lose. I believe that we’re still going to be around, no problem.”
To listen to the full interview you can do so below:BJPenn.Com Radio, BJPennDotCom Radio, female fighters, Invicta, invicta fc 5, leslie smith, mma, MMA NEWS, Ronda Rousey, Sarah Kaufman, ufc, ufc 157, ufc news, WMMA, Women's MMA