Former Strikeforce women's 135-pound champion Sarah Kaufman isn't happy about Ronda Rousey stealing her spot. Kaufman was tentatively scheduled to face champion Miesha Tate for the belt at a future Strikeforce show, but the flashy and brash Rousey has apparently talked her way into a title shot instead on March 3rd (the bout has been denied by both fighters, but MMA Weekly believes it will happen). Kaufman spoke to MMA Fighting about the situation:
"I think it's terrible news," the former Strikeforce 135-pound women's champ said, and you can probably guess why.
"I put in my time and, being the former champ and having had two fights since the only loss of my career, I've definitely earned the right to fight Miesha Tate and fight for the 135-pound title with Strikeforce," Kaufman explained. "Then there's Ronda, who's only been fighting for a year. Granted, she has her judo experience, but she hasn't fought anyone of a high caliber. She's fought at 145 pounds -- hasn't even competed at 135 pounds at all -- and for her to be given the opportunity to fight for the title, it's pretty ridiculous."
Kaufman also thinks Rousey has earned a title shot at 145 (where all of her fights have taken place), but she's dropping down for a reason:Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos.
"She's scared to fight Cyborg, for sure, and understandably. Cyborg is a formidable fighter. But if you're saying you want a title, it shouldn't matter whether it's at 145 [pounds] or 135 [pounds]. Now she's backpedaling and saying, 'Oh, I want Cyborg to come to 135.' Or maybe she'll do it as a catchweight. Or maybe in four or five fights. She's pretty much just pushing the fight off, clearly running from it."
Does Kaufman have a case? I believe she does, but unfortunately the promotional side of fighting will usually win out in these types of situations. The public wants Tate/Rousey, not Tate/Kaufman 2 (Kaufman holds a win over Tate already). Hopefully Kaufman gets to face the winner of the rumored bout at least.