Sarah Kaufman added to her undefeated record while becoming the very first Strikeforce 135lb. women’s champion last weekend by defeating tenacious Japanese contender Takayo Hashi at Strikeforce Challengers 6. It was a momentous occasion not only for Strikeforce but for women’s MMA, as the bout headlined an all-male under card live on Showtime.
Kaufman was gracious enough to give Pro MMA Now (www.prommanow.com) a few moments of her time this week to talk about her victory, and what made Hashi so tough to put away. The Champ also talked to us about her dance background, who she is likely to fight next, and more.
Thank you Sarah for speaking with us at Pro MMA Now (www.prommanow.com). Congratulations on your win. How did it feel to defeat Takayo Hashi in a Strikeforce main event on Showtime?
Fighting Takayo Hashi for the title as the main event was a great feeling. I’m really happy to be the first ever 135lb. title-holder, and I really look forward to my first title defense being an exciting fight.
What was it about her do you think made it difficult to put her away and finish it?
Japanese fighters are known for their heart and durability, and Hashi was no different. I managed to drop her a few times, but knowing that she wanted to stay on the ground, I allowed her to get back up. It was also really hard to finish her since she was backing up for almost the entire fight and being really defensive.
How does one go from being a ballerina to a cage fighter; they seem like polar opposites; what do you think that says about your personality?
I am not sure what it says about my personality other than when I find something I enjoy, I go for it 100%. It was a total fluke that Adam Zugec opened ZUMA so close to my dance studio… but my life would be so different had he not moved to Victoria.
Now you coming from a dance background, what did you think of Chuck Liddell’s dancing skills on Dancing with the Stars?
I actually don’t have cable, so unfortunately I have no idea what Chuck’s skills were like.
Are you more of a fan of Dancing with the Stars or America’s Best Dance Crew, and why?
I would say that I am a bigger fan of America’s Best Dance Crew… mostly because they are actual groups of talented dancers that are innovative and exciting to watch.
Is dancing still a part of your life at all?
What are the similarities between mixed martial arts and dance, and what aspect of MMA do you think your dance background has helped you with the most?
Being so focused and dedicated to dance at such a young age gave me really good work ethic that I think has transferred over into almost all aspects of my life, including MMA. I would also say that the ability to pick up new footwork also transferred over.
Now that you are the champion, I guess you just have to wait and see who gets a title shot against you. Who would you say is the number one contender in your division, and who do you think is in line to fight for that contender spot?
I don’t really know who is next in line; however, I believe that Roxanne Modafferi is ranked closest to me at 135lbs., and she has wanted to fight me for a while. We’ll have to see though.
Favorite movie, favorite TV show, favorite book?
Favorite movie is really hard… but the movie I liked the most lately was The Blind Side. Favorite TV show right now is The Big Bang Theory. Favorite book is Where the Red Fern Grows.
Thank you Sarah for taking your time to talk with us at Pro MMA Now (www.prommanow.com). Are there any sponsors you want to thank or do you have any shout outs?
I definitely need to thank my coach, Adam Zugec, strength and conditioning coach, Tyler Goodale, and of course my awesome team at ZUMA Martial Arts. Big thanks to Greg Jackson and Julie Kedzie for being so wicked and supportive, as well as all my fans. Finally, I have to thank my sponsors: TCB, PerformanceMMA, MTXAudio, Clinch Gear, and prettytoughfighter.com. If anyone wants to follow me, look me up @mmasarah on twitter or check out my website www.sarahkaufman.ca