Kaufman Wants 135ers to Feel the Love

By Lutfi Sariahmed Feb 25, 2010
Strikeforce's move from a regional to a national promotion has created a platform for some big 145-pound women’s fights in the last year, including a headlining title bout between Gina Carano and Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos last August. Undefeated Sarah Kaufman, who fights Takayo Hashi Friday for the promotion’s newly created 135-pound title in Fresno, Calif., is hoping there’s enough love to spread around.

“I did kind of feel like I got forgotten about a little bit,” Kaufman recently told the Sherdog Radio Network's “Beatdown” show. “They have kept (the 135-pound division) going, but there definitely isn't as much exposure there. Hopefully once this title is created and once we fight for it, the push is going to be there behind the 135ers as well.”

Kaufman, who showcased crisp striking in her back-to-back unanimous decision victories for Strikeforce last May and June, said she prepared for Hashi on three separate occasions since then waiting to get the final call from Strikeforce. It’s given Kaufman ample time to digest Hashi’s game.

“I've seen a few of her fights and its always kind of hard to know how she's going to come out especially being from a primarily grappling-based camp,” said Kaufman. “Sometimes that odd striking kind of throws you more for a loop than someone who has pretty basic striking. So I think that's always kind of a concern in terms of just being able to get around striking that's not what you're used to.”

Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog.com

Takayo Hashi.
Not only is Hashi's style difficult to get a handle on, she's not a well-established name in North America.

“I think that's a hard thing because Takayo Hashi is obviously a great opponent,” said Kaufman. “She's ranked number two in the division. But I understand entirely what you're saying. You're just kind of throwing someone in there, especially being from Japan, the public has never seen (her), and they probably don't know how to feel about her. I mean I don't even know how to feel about her. Especially not having seen her fight on a Strikeforce show you really don't know what to expect.”

Kaufman, a native of Victoria, British Columbia, believes both she and Hashi have a future in the promotion no matter what Friday’s result will be.

“Hopefully, it's not a you come in to fight and if you lose you disappear kind of thing,” Kaufman said. “I mean, hopefully you're put into the mix and you become one of the contenders and then people do get to know you. I just hope that we put on a good fight and in the end it doesn't matter that she's not that well known yet.”

Kaufman will be eight months removed when she re-enters the Strikeforce cage on Friday, but for the undefeated 24-year-old, that’s par for the course. “Last year I had three fights within 57 days which was great but prior to that I'd had a 13-month layoff. I'm kind of used to it,” she said. “I just like to do my thing and get in there. As soon as you're in there it feels the same. There's always that kind of nervous tension going on. I don't think it's anything more than any other fight.”
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