MMARising.com: First off, Sarah, congratulations on your successful title defence against Roxanne Modafferi at Strikeforce Challengers 9. Can you talk a bit about the fight, what you felt went well and what your impression was of Roxanne’s performance? It seemed to be a very close and competitive fight.
Sarah Kaufman: I thought it was a good fight and Roxanne fought very well. I expected her to maybe stand and trade a little more because that’s what she said that she was going to do, but then she started clinching instead. I think that was a smart strategy for her and she fought a smart fight. After the first minute in the first round, I could feel that she was maybe getting tired in the clinch and I thought that I would be able to control the fight if it stayed there.
MMARising.com: Looking ahead, Strikeforce has the 135-pound women’s tournament coming up in two weeks and they have announced that Marloes Coenen will be the next challenger for your title. What are your thoughts on facing Marloes, the fact that she’s dropping down from 145 and the fact that she’s getting an immediate title shot in the division? And on the tournament?
SK: For the tournament, I think it’s great because it’s getting people aware of the hierarchy and the rankings here in Strikeforce, and gets people interested in following the division as opposed to just one fighter. I think that that’s great for the entire division itself.
As for fighting Marloes, I’m surprised that she’s going to be able to make 135. If she does, I think that’s a great fight for me. It’s going to be a challenging fight, but a great fight. Whether she deserves to get the next shot at the 135-pound title, that’s not up to me. I’m just happy to face whomever they put in front of me, but I’m sure that some people might not see why Marloes gets the first title shot.
MMARising.com: Has Strikeforce set out a tentative timeline for when the fight with Marloes may happen? Possibly in November or December?
SK: I haven’t heard anything yet. I’m hoping October or November. That would be perfect for me.
MMARising.com: Outside of the 135-pound tournament and facing Marloes, are there any other specific fighters that you would like to challenge yourself against in the near future?
SK: I’m really quite happy with how things have gone so far, but it really just depends on what other matchups have happened. For me, personally, I always like to face someone new as opposed to having rematches. That’s just my personal preference, but I feel like if you’ve faced someone once, unless there’s a huge reason to fight them again I would rather just fight someone new.
I actually think that if Gina Carano were to come back, that that would be a really interesting matchup. I think that it would be a fun fight, but whether she does come back and what weight she would fight at, who knows. Besides that, if Tara LaRosa is fighting at the 130 to 135-pound range now, that’s always a possibility that’s been talked about.
MMARising.com: Another thing that was discussed in Everett was the much-talked-about “superfight” between you and Strikeforce 145-pound women’s champ Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos. It was mentioned there that maybe that fight could happen at 140 pounds. If that fight ever does happen down the road, would you prefer that it be at 140, 145 or it doesn’t matter to you?
SK: I think that if that fight were to happen, 140. You know, meet in the middle. That seems pretty fair to me, especially since Cyborg has made 140 before.
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