PHOENIX - AUGUST 13: Mixed martial artist Sarah Kaufman attends the Strikeforce Women's Welterweight Tournament Championship bout at Dodge Theater on August 13 2010 in Phoenix Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Sarah Kaufman will once again be able to showcase her considerable talents Saturday night in San Diego when she takes on Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey. Both women last fought in March on the same card that Ronda won her belt from Miesha Tate. Kaufman has only tasted defeat once, and is looking to regain her title. In a recent interview, Sarah discussed her feelings on the targeted marketing and promotion of Rousey, while coming close to excluding the other females in the women's division.
Stephie Daniels: With Ronda, many seem to think that her striking will be her weak spot, but do you feel she has any weak spots at all in her ground game, as well?
Sarah Kaufman: You know, I saw some really good things and some weaknesses in both her striking and in her grappling. Miesha definitely got some really good positions on Ronda. She wasn't able to capitalize on those, but the fact that Miesha got those good positions, it's kind of an aspect we haven't really seen in Ronda's game before. You could tell in her last fight that there are things that she did really well and that she's comfortable with, and there were other things that she kind of shies away from.
Stephie Daniels: Do you feel that you hit harder than Miesha does, and therefore will have even more of an edge in the striking department?
Sarah Kaufman: I know that I hit harder than Miesha does, because I've been hit by her. That's really not an insult to Miesha, but I know how she strikes and how I strike. There's definitely a big difference there, in terms of the power and what's being put behind each strike. It's not really a big secret.
Ronda has said that she doesn't like getting hit in previous interviews, and you can tell that her style is pretty much anti-striking. I think that Ronda is a really tough competitor, and mentally, it would take a lot to break Ronda, and hopefully, I'm able to do that, and secure a knockout, if possible. I'm not disillusioned in my thinking. I don't think she's going to run away from getting hit. I think she's going to stick in there and try to do what she wants to do, and even if she doesn't like it, she's still going to be there.
Stephie Daniels: When you went to do the Strikeforce promos, and they put you and Ronda in latex body suits, what did you think of that?
Sarah Kaufman: Not my favorite time, but I think the idea they were trying to come up with, I think it was kind of a superhero theme, ended up looking classy. Would I choose to wear that suit? No, absolutely not, because it was ridiculous, and really, really tight. They actually got me a size too small, so I was stuck in a suit that I couldn't fully move in. The boots were a big bonus. They had the laces up the front with the big platform heel...they're something I would wear on a regular basis, I think.
Stephie Daniels: With you in the white, and Ronda in the black, do you think they sort of set you up as the white knight vs. the dark night, or witch, or whatever you want to insert in the scenario?
Sarah Kaufman: A little bit. I think they were going for like a superhero, good vs. evil type thing. They kept saying, 'Ronda's a phenomenon. She's THE thing, and you're this other person who is just this other person, so we're gonna put her in black, and you're gonna wear white.' I was like, 'I want to wear black if I have to wear a weird, latex suit.' I definitely think it was good vs. evil or yin vs. yang, that opposites were coming in to fight each other.
Stephie Daniels: The women's division has never received as much publicity as it has since Ronda has become champion. With a win over her, do you feel your opportunity to shine the light on the women's division will be better, since she's sort of opened the door for everyone?
Sarah Kaufman: A win would definitely be a huge opening for me to get that extra recognition that I've been working really hard to get for the last six and a half years. With Zuffa now in charge of Strikeforce, and with me trying to step in, and hopefully getting that title, I think that I'll have that push from Zuffa, as well. It's a really positive thing for myself, but also for fans and women's MMA in general. We need to make sure that there's more than one person in the spotlight, because having only one person there, and solely relying on one person, you know it's MMA, and people lose and people win. You have to have the fans behind and knowing more than one person.
Stephie Daniels: The marketing of this fight, and this card in general, hasn't come anywhere near that of the March card. Do you feel that Zuffa is pushing this fight as hard as they were for Miesha and Ronda?
Sarah Kaufman: I think that it's a different fight. I don't think that there's as much hype from a certain standpoint of even pushing. They've definitely done a lot of Ronda Rousey pushing. With Dana White wearing the Ronda Rousey shirt from the ESPN magazine cover, that is a statement. The fact that he keeps talking about Ronda Rousey, and seemingly forgetting who I am, even though I've met him multiple times, and I'm pretty sure he knows who I am. It's the Ronda train, for sure. It would be nice to see it pushed from both sides, but they think that I'm the underdog. They think that I'm a scrub who's going to roll over and give Ronda my arm. I'm gonna come out there on August 18th and put my foot down. I'm not a mat to be walked on. I'm a legitimately ranked, world class fighter, and that's where I deserve to be, and how I should be treated.
Stephie Daniels: Miesha Tate has been focusing on trying to reinsert herself in the title mix by drawing Ronda out with challenges for a rematch and Twitter wars. Do you feel that she is making a mistake with her attention seemingly focused ahead of her bout with Julie Kedzie?
Sarah Kaufman: I absolutely think that Miesha should be focused on Julie. If she thinks she's just going to walk in and wipe the mat with Julie, she's wrong. I think she's looked way too far past Julie. I'm very excited for that fight. I'm teammates with Julie, so I am biased, but I've fought Miesha and I've trained with Julie, and I honestly think that this is a great match-up for Julie. She's more than likely going to walk away with this win, and then Miesha will be pushed further down the ladder.
You can follow Sarah via her Twitter account, @MMASarah