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

Long considered one of the top up and coming fighters in the world of women’s MMA, Canada’s own Sarah Kaufman finally got the call to the big league when she was asked to step in on short notice and face Miesha Tate at this Friday’s Sho MMA: Strikeforce Challengers Series event on Showtime.

Kaufman had previously been signed on with EliteXC and a November 2008 showdown with Kaitlin Young, but the company folded and she was left without a fighting home. Now just a few weeks removed from her last fight in the Palace Fighting Championships, Kaufman was excited for this latest opportunity.

“I was really excited that I got the call,” Kaufman told MMAWeekly Radio recently. “When Kim (Couture) pulled out, I saw it that night when Miesha posted something. I was just really excited. We talked with Strikeforce back and forth, and I just jumped in there. It’s a great opportunity to jump in this area of the plans for Strikeforce and get on the Showtime card. So it’s televised, and hopefully a lot of exposure and have a great fight.”

Despite the fact that she just fought, Kaufman says she had no hesitation stepping into the fight with Tate, and feels that her recent training and fight preparation will actually benefit her more going into this one.

“It was actually an incentive for me to take the fight. I had just fought about a week before for Palace Fighting Championships. I had taken that week and was still training, but not doing a lot of conditioning,” said Kaufman.

“I didn’t have any injuries coming off of PFC. That fight went really well for me. Making the decision to go into Strikeforce was pretty easy because I felt good. My conditioning is good. I don’t feel over-trained or over-tired, so no excuses. It’s going to be a wicked fight, and hopefully Miesha is as conditioned as I am and the pace will be nice and fast.”

And while making weight has seemed to garner much of the spotlight lately, especially in high profile women’s bouts, that shouldn’t be an issue for Kaufman.

“My weight is good. It didn’t go up very high,” she relayed. “I didn’t have to feel like I was straining myself to make the cut. And I think you’re still in that fight mentality, so it helped me get right back into the fight training and prepare for a different opponent.”

The match-up with Miesha Tate could end up being the show stealer for the Strikeforce series debuting on Friday night, and Kaufman knows that it only takes one fight to make the ultimate impression on the fans.

“It’s definitely that kind of chance, and I think that I’m willing to step in and take this fight on short notice, I think that says a lot. The fact that I just want to fight and I really don’t care who, or when, or where,” she stated. “You have to take smart fights at the same time, but in the end, I just want to fight. If the opportunity is there and I’m able to, I’m going to take it.”

The growth of women’s MMA cannot be denied, and Kaufman, along with Tate, is at the forefront of the new stars building in the division. The young Canadian believes it’s that kind of match-up that will only do great things for each of their careers.

“I kind of jumped at the opportunity because I knew it was on the televised portion, and I knew it would really get myself out there to a lot of people that haven’t been exposed to how I fight,” Kaufman commented. “I think it’s really going to open their eyes and people are going to be like, ‘huh, this Sarah Kaufman, she’s kind of decent.'”

And while she doesn’t show much worry about fighting back-to-back over the span of three weeks, she thinks it’s her opponent who has to deal with a much tougher fighter than who she was scheduled to face just days ago.

“It’s a really hard thing when you’re preparing for one fight with someone who has only had a couple of fights, and suddenly they back out and then you have the whole week of being unsure. I’ve been there. In my last fight I had three different opponents lined up and it is a stress on you,” Kaufman said.

“I think, for me, coming in, being a lot more experienced than Kim, I think that is a huge change for Miesha. Definitely props to her for sticking in there and agreeing to take this fight even though it’s very different than what she was expecting and preparing for, for probably the last five weeks.”

Sarah Kaufman will make her Strikeforce debut this Friday night on Showtime when she faces Miesha Tate in a featured bout on the main card.