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

While Cris “Cyborg” Santos is readying for the first defense of her 145-pound Strikeforce women’s title, the promotion is about to crown a 135-pound women’s champion for the first time ever. Undefeated Canadian star Sarah Kaufman returns to action to face Japanese fighter Takayo Hashi.

Kaufman confirmed the news to MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday and will give her thoughts on the title fight in an exclusive interview later this week. The possibility of the bout was first reported by Sherdog.com.

The fight will take place on Feb. 26 at a Strikeforce Challengers event that will air on Showtime.

Making her Strikeforce debut in 2009, Kaufman proved why she is considered one of the top female fighters in the world as she dispatched two very tough opponents in Miesha Tate and Shayna Baszler.

Kaufman has been absent since the fight with Baszler, waiting for her next opportunity to compete. The time away has paid off, as she will battle for the promotion’s first ever 135-pound women’s crown.

Hashi will be making her Strikeforce debut after going 12-1 in her professional career, fighting for promotions like Smackgirl and GCM.

The Japanese fighter has fought some of the best competition in the women’s division and avenged her only loss when she defeated Hitomi Akano in September 2007. Hashi has only fought twice in the last two years, but looks to get back to active competition with the fight against Kaufman.

More fights are expected to be announced for the Feb. 26 card in the coming days.