Sarah Kaufman just signed a four fight deal and another shot at the Strikeforce MMA world title.

Sarah Kaufman’s MMA title watch begins

Former world mixed martial arts champ Sarah Kaufman waits for a shot at fighting Miesha Tate

The clock is counting down for Sarah Kaufman’s title fight.

Last week, the 26-year-old Kaufman signed a four-fight deal with Strikeforce, her longest commitment from the mixed martial arts organization to date.

But the former MMA world champ is a little worried the cocky words of an inexperienced fighter could get in her way.

There’s been enough of a delay as it is. Kaufman fought just twice in 2011, including one arranged locally by the Victoria-based Armageddon Fighting Championship.

And now Kaufman has “her fingers crossed for a February date.”

Currently there is no fight scheduled for (135-pound) champion Miesha Tate. But Kaufman wants nothing else, having defeated Tate in their only previous meeting back in 2009.

“I’m hoping to find out about a fight date really soon. I’ll be upset if it’s not Miesha,” said Kaufman, who trains and teachers full-time out of the Zuma martial arts gym in Vic West and is ready for the nod.

Kaufman’s last fight was a win over Liz Carmouche at Strikeforce Challengers No. 17 in July.

It was Kaufman’s first Strikeforce fight since losing the title to Marloes Coenen in October 2010.

Coenen, however, then lost the belt to Tate and has since left the organization. With Coenen out, Kaufman is the likely successor as the No. 1 contender in line to challenge Tate. At least on paper.

But upstart Ronda Rousey, a former U.S. bronze medalist in judo, is garnering attention in the sports pages because of her candid interviews. Kaufman is praying that publicity doesn’t earn Rousey a chance to leapfrog everyone and fight Tate for the Strikeforce bantamweight title.

“If Rousey gets the title fight, it’s ridiculous, I’d be pretty upset. Rousey has been running her mouth off.”

Rousey’s rise especially parallels that of Carmouche, who was fast-tracked into Strikeforce with just five pro wins, but subsequently lost to Coenen and Kaufman.

Kaufman also said this week that, despite speculation, world champ Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos is unlikely to drop from the 145 lb. category to 135 lb.

“It would be in search of competition, which she’s having a hard time finding at her level. But, realistically I don’t think she’ll be able to make weight,” Kaufman said.

“(Santos) walks around over 170 lb.; it would definitely hinder her performance. Cutting to 145 is a tough stretch as it is.”

Strikeforce remains the highest platform for female MMA fighters, with Kaufman one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

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