by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy of Arnold Lim)

Widely considered the No. 1 fighter in the women’s 135-pound division, Canadian Sarah Kaufman will have the chance to bring gold back to her country this weekend when she gets the chance to compete for the first ever Strikeforce women’s welterweight title against Takayo Hashi.

Kaufman has proven to be one of the toughest fighters in the sport, racking up wins against some of the best her division has to offer. The hard work will pay off when she steps into the cage on Friday to vie for gold.

Competing against Kaufman will be Strikeforce newcomer Takayo Hashi, who brings an impressive record and a wealth of experience with her through fighting in her home country of Japan.

“When they first mentioned her name, I really didn’t know anything about her. I had heard her name before, and that was because I had heard that she fought Amanda Buckner. Other than that, I didn’t know much about her,” Kaufman told MMAWeekly Radio recently.

“Found out she was 12-1, she has a great record, she’s beat some notable opponents, and she was even the Smackgirl 128-pound champion.”

Hashi’s having been the 128-pound women’s champion in Japan begs the question will the Japanese fighter have the power and size to deal with Kaufman, who is a legit 135-pound fighter?

“I feel really strong at 135 for whomever I’m fighting. The fact that she can make 128, I really don’t think I could make that weight, so it makes me think she will probably come in fight time lighter than I will,” Kaufman admitted. “That being said, she’s fought other girls at 135 that have been quite strong. Amanda Buckner was two fights ago for her, and Amanda Buckner is a strong lady, and she managed to decision Amanda. So it’s nothing that can be taken lightly, but I definitely do think strength is going to be on my side.”

Training out of Zugec Ultimate Martial Arts in Canada, Kaufman is a well rounded fighter, but it’s no secret that she loves to knock people out. When speaking with MMAWeekly.com, Hashi said she’s seeing this fight as a stand-up war.

The thought of a stand-up fight is like a present to Kaufman, who has no problem striking with Hashi.

“That’s great. I think stand-up fights are exciting and I’m sure if the opportunity comes, she’ll try and take it to the ground, but every fight starts standing. So if someone’s hard to take down or their timing’s a little bit different, it’s hard and you have to be prepared for that stand-up fight,” Kaufman commented.

Building up to the fight that will take place on Showtime Friday night, Hashi was quick to say that she looks to “crush” Kaufman and steal her heart in the fight. A little smack talk never hurt anyone, and Kaufman welcomed the challenge.

She also plans on shutting down Hashi’s plan and giving her a taste of her own medicine.

“Bring it on, that’s great,” Kaufman said in response to Hashi. “I really don’t think that’s going to happen, but if she wants to try and take my heart, I’m trying to do the same thing to her.”