by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Last year was supposed to be Canadian female MMA standout Sarah Kaufman’s breakout.

The rise in popularity of women’s MMA, combined with her exciting style, had the makings of bringing her to the forefront of the 135-pound division when things unraveled.

Shortly after defending her Hardcore Championship Fighting title in March, Kaufman’s hopes of taking the next step forward were dashed when the HCF folded in May followed by the closing of EliteXC in October, just weeks after she had signed a deal with them.

Determined to continue her undefeated ways, Kaufman has managed to find not one, but two new homes to showcase her skills, as she looks forward to making 2009 her year.

“Currently I’m signed with PFC (Palace Fighting Championship) and I’ve also been told that I’ve been acquired by Strikeforce,” said Kaufman from her native Victoria, British Columbia. “They’re open I believe to working with (each other), so as long as Strikeforce is first and foremost, as it was for EliteXC.

“If (Strikeforce says) it’s okay, I’m allowed to fight with PFC as well. As of yet, they’ve okayed me to fight for PFC on April 23 in Lemoore, Calif.”

Recently Strikeforce added former EliteXC fighter Christiane “Cyborg” Santos to its April 11 card on Showtime, along with ongoing negotiations to add superstar Gina Carano to its May show. According to Kaufman, she is unable to say when she will make her debut for the company.

“I would like to fight for them as soon as possible,” she stated. “I know they have a card in May up in Seattle, but since I’m fighting in April, me fighting in May is slim I suppose.”

When Kaufman returns at the PFC in April, she will do so at her familiar weight of 135 pounds, a weight class she hopes to stay in when she transitions to Strikeforce.

“At 135 there’s so many good female fighters that it shouldn’t be too difficult to find those fights at 135, the problem is 145,” she stated. “There aren’t that many women, so I think they’ll try to bring some ladies up.

“Whether I get some more fights at 135 and build a bigger name and they want to offer me a bigger fight for bigger pay at 145, I might consider it, but 135 is the weight I’m strongest at and feel I fight the best at.”

When she finally does make her American debut this spring, expect Kaufman to bring the same level of tenacity that made her a star in Canada to make a name for herself here.

“Right now nobody really knows my name really,” she said. “Some hardcore people know my name, but in terms of the casual fan, I’m just some girl they hope gets beaten up.

“I want people to know that I’m actually there to fight and put up a good show and not just get walked over.”

Kaufman closed out by reiterating that not only should fans keep an eye out for her, but for the organizations that are doing their part to expand women’s MMA in the coming years.

“I’d just like to say thanks to everyone that’s gotten me here,” she concluded. “I couldn’t be more excited, and I’m really happy that PFC is giving me the opportunity to have this (upcoming) fight.

“I also want to say to anyone who is into women fighting, please watch Strikeforce; they’re doing a huge thing for the sport. Please support the women, and try to support more than just one woman. There’s a lot of really good female fighters out there and Strikeforce is hopefully going to showcase that.”