Prior to making her Strikeforce debut last May, Sarah Kaufman had never been to a decision in her career. Each of the 24-year-old Victoria, British Columbia native’s eight bouts up to that point had ended the same way – with Kaufman pounding out a victory.
Since joining the ranks of the elite female fighters with the San Jose-based company, Kaufman has continued her winning ways. She’s earned three more wins and the women’s welterweight championship in the process, but fans, critics and maybe even her bosses with Strikeforce have been uninspired by her three consecutive trips to the scorecards.
Though she thoroughly dominated Takayo Hashi from the opening bell in claiming the crown as the top 135-pound female fighter on the planet last February, the fight drew poor reviews, as many wanted to see Kaufman finished her overmatched opponent. Initially, Kaufman felt the same frustration.
“My last fight,” began the unbeaten Kaufman, letting out a frustrated groan, recalling her immediate feelings after her fight with Hashi. “I finished the fight, I knew I won, I knew I decisively won, but I wanted more. I want more, and even in the fight I wanted more, but there is only so much you can push and do on your own if your opponent isn’t being offensive and isn’t trying to fight back.”
With a number of teammates in the final stages of preparation following the fight, the former dancer didn’t have a chance to re-watch the fight, and spent her first couple weeks as a world champion believing the criticisms that came from every direction.
“I definitely wasn’t as happy as I should be after winning a title,” remarked Kaufman on her mood following the biggest win of her career. After wondering what more she could have done with her coach Adam Zugec, Kaufman finally sat down to see her performance, and was pleasantly surprised by what she saw.
“I watched it and I didn’t think it was actually that boring of a fight. If I watched that fight as someone else, I would actually enjoy that fight, but then again, people love brawling. Like the last Bonnar and Soszynski fight. Technically ugly, but yeah – they smashed each other and it was entertaining in that way.”