MMA athlete Sarah Kaufman (12-2) of Victoria in the cage at Zuma Ultimate Martial Arts. Kaufman makes her UFC debut against Jessica Eye (10-1) at UFC 166 in Houston

MMA athlete Sarah Kaufman (12-2) of Victoria in the cage at Zuma Ultimate Martial Arts. Kaufman makes her UFC debut against Jessica Eye (10-1) at UFC 166 in Houston

UFC debut finally here for Victoria’s Sarah Kaufman

Sarah Kaufman embarks on UFC title campaign at UFC 166

Lunchtime workout sessions have ended and a group of men trickle out of Zuma Ultimate Martial Arts in Vic West. They laugh about the super high intensity training they’ve been put through by their mixed martial arts instructor Sarah Kaufman. But their faces don’t lie, as they wear a look that screams post-workout exhaustion.

Each thanks Kaufman for the class as they exit, and Kaufman returns the thanks in kind.

By day, Kaufman, the former Strikeforce MMA world champion, runs classes for adults and kids alike. She fits in hours of daily training for herself too, nothing new for the 28-year-old, Victoria’s highest profile MMA athlete.

But it’s been a while, to say the least, that Kaufman has been in discussions for another shot at the Strikeforce/UFC title. That shot is still not here but the road is being laid down in front of her. On Saturday (Oct. 19) Kaufman returns to the limelight for her UFC debut at UFC 166 in Houston, Tx. against fellow UFC rookie Jessica Eye (10-1).

“If you look at the division, Liz Carmouche is in her third fight (in November) since it started in February,” shrugged Kaufman, noting that yes, Kaufman did beat Carmouche during the Strikeforce years.

For a fighter who is not far removed from the distinction of former title holder, the UFC has taken its sweet time to put Kaufman back in the cage. She’s even slotted at No. 2 on the UFC rankings in its women’s bantamweight (126 to 135 lbs.) division, probably one spot below where she should be, considering she’s beaten the division’s most proven fighter except for standing title holder Ronda Rousey.

“They have used me for a number of promotional events but yes, I’d like to get another fight in this winter at the latest,” she said.

UFC company Zuffa purchased Strikeforce in 2011 and has since officially absorbed, and relaunched, the women’s bantamweight division. Kaufman, the good kid, isn’t afraid to speak her mind but has so far escaped the common UFC branding as a mouth with a fighter attached to it. There’s still time for that  though.

A win this weekend will put Kaufman into serious contention though it’s clear there is a final resolution coming between the Miesha Tate and Rousey rivalry, currently being played up on the reality television series The Ultimate Fighter.

“You never know with how they edit that show what’s really being said between them. Or when they’re going to fight, which seems due,” Kaufman said.

Though Kaufman hasn’t fought in the UFC she’s enjoyed being part of it. She was flown out earlier this year to UFC events in Calgary and Winnipeg, and to Toronto for the launch of Sportsnet 360.

“UFC is really well organized and your schedule is all laid out for the week you’re there to fight,” she said.

“The good thing about Houston is I don’t know much about it so I don’t expect it to be a distraction, which some cities can be when you’re there to fight,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman’s holds Strikeforce wins over UFC fighters Liz Carmouche and Miesha Tate, among others, while her only losses are to Rhousey and former Strikeforce champ Marloes Coenen (Netherlands), who has since departed the North American-based pro women’s MMA scene.

Kaufman wins at AFC 5 – 2011 in Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rebecca Lang of Any Thyme Gardening installed a seed exchange library in front of her home on Beechwood Avenue. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Victoria gardeners scramble to create local seed exchanges

Fairfield resident’s seed exchange an instant hit

On Feb. 27, a construction vehicle remained on the site of the former encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue as part a clean-up effort. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Encampment between Pat Bay Highway, McKenzie Avenue cleared, all residents relocated

Efforts to disband encampment resumed after January fire

Sooke resident Nathan Hanson popped both his driver’s side tires on a pothole near a construction site on Sooke Road. Hanson said he was following a line of traffic and was just before the 17 Mile Pub when he drove over the pothole. (Photo contributed/Nathan Hanson)
Driver blows two tires on pothole near construction site on Sooke Road

Ministry of Transportation says keeping highways in good condition a priority

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, with winds expected to get up to 70 km/h Friday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Wind warning promises blustery Friday for Greater Victoria

Winds up to 70 km/h expected Friday morning

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 from Vancouver to Victoria Feb. 28 were exposed to a case of COVID-19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
COVID-19 exposure found on flight from Vancouver to Victoria

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 Feb. 28 affected

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read