September 25, 2008

by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy CFSeries.com)

Things in EliteXC’s 140-pound women’s division just got a lot more interesting.

The emergence of Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos at the promotion’s July event, coupled with the signing of Canadian titleholder Sarah Kaufman, and the upcoming bout between Gina Carano and Kelly Kobald-Gavin, there looks to be a real push to legitimize a title at the weight class.

While Americans have had extensive exposure to Carano, and recently Santos, few if any have had an opportunity to see Kaufman in action.

Since her debut in 2006, she has dominated the Canadian female MMA scene, finishing off all seven opponents in spectacular fashion. And now she turns her attention towards conquering U.S. soil later this year.

“I’m really excited for the opportunity to be able to fight on a card for an organization that’s well-established and is really promoting women’s MMA,” commented Kaufman on signing with EliteXC.

“It’s exciting to be able to expand into fighting people who are considered some of the upper echelon, just to prove to myself I can either hold my own or not. I think I’ll do pretty well and I’m just excited to constantly challenge myself.”

According to Kaufman, she feels that she can seamlessly integrate with the talent the promotion has, including the aforementioned Santos, Carano, Kobald, and ShoXC standouts Shayna Baszler and Rosi Sexton.

“We’ll have to wait and see until I fight, but I say I fit right in there,” stated Kaufman. “I think I’ll give any of those girls a hard fight.”

Currently it’s not 100 percent confirmed when she will be making her debut with the promotion, but Kaufman is fairly sure she will not get to square off against the promotion’s premier fighter, Gina Carano, right away.

“I think especially since Gina’s had a couple of fights with the organization now, I think it’s something they’re going to work towards,” said Kaufman.

“It doesn’t make sense from a management and promoter’s standpoint to just throw someone who the fans don’t know into a big fight, because then they’ll only root for one person. I think it’s important to build up both sides and have a match-up that all fans want to see.”

One thing does seem certain though, it appears as if Kaufman will have to focus on fighting in the U.S. now, as her native Canada isn’t affording her the kind of consistent opportunities she would hope.

“I haven’t heard about too many Canadian organizations getting involved with female MMA on a larger scale,” she admitted sadly. “Most females are already signed to other organizations, so you kind of have to go there if you want to fight those girls.”

When she does get her opportunity to fight here, she intends to bring the game she’s excited fans in the north with the past couple of years.

“I don’t like to give up or sit back and win a fight based on points or decision,” she stated. “I really like to fight and win in an exciting fashion.

“I think (American fans) can really look forward to me pushing the pace and actually fighting; not just in there to pull out a decision or just pull through.”

Having knocked out every opponent she’s faced so far, and with an expanding ground game, Kaufman may be the next big thing for EliteXC in what is quickly becoming one of the most stacked divisions in all of MMA, male or female.

“I really want to thank MMAWeekly for having this interview, but also who has helped me get here,” concluded Kaufman. “Thanks to all my coaches, Adam Zugec, and fans for their support and their interest towards me and female mixed martial arts.”