Sarah Kaufman will get her wish when she takes on Marloes Coenen on the main card of Strikeforce's next big Showtime event on October 9 in San Jose, and she has no regrets about what she had to do to make it happen.Strikeforce 135-pound women's champion
"I think it's important for fighters to stand up for what they deserve," Kaufman said on Friday afternoon's Strikeforce media call, responding to questions about her post-fight remarks following a victory over Roxanne Modafferi on a Strikeforce Challengers card in July.
"You don't want to make your organization look bad, but if your issue needs to be said, I'm happy I said what I said and I think my fight kind of backed that up," Kaufman added. "Whether it was me talking or the fans reacting or the fight itself getting highlighted on ESPN, I think they all worked together in helping push the division and have a title [fight] on the main card."
That title fight pits the undefeated Kaufman against a Dutch challenger who posted a loss in her last outing – a 145-pound title scrap against Strikeforce champ Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos – only don't try telling Coenen that she doesn't deserve back-to-back title shots in different divisions.
"The criticism mostly came from the women, who said, 'Well, Marloes should first fight Miesha Tate and then take on Sarah,' but a lot of people forget that I'm already fighting for ten years. Ten years ago I won my first world title, so I do think I've proven myself and I've proven myself again by taking on Cyborg. I don't feel that the criticism is fair or does justice to what I've accomplished already."
Though Coenen suffered a third-round TKO defeat at the hands of Santos, she said she still feels the bout was stopped too soon and could have gone differently if a female ref had worked the bout, as in the case of Santos' most recent title defense against Jan Finney in June.
"About the Cyborg fight, I think the referee stopped it too soon," Coenen said. "After the fight I said to my trainer, 'If the referee was a woman she wouldn't have quit it that fast.' And when Cyborg fought again the referee was a woman and she definitely didn't quit it too fast. Maybe a little bit too late."
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker defended his decision to shuffle Coenen into a title fight directly after a loss, and said he noticed during the weigh-ins before her fight with Santos that she might be better off in the 135-pound division.
"I remember watching Cyborg and Marloes get on the scale, and [thinking] Cyborg looked so much heavier, and Marloes had to continue to eat to make the weight, so we knew she could make 135."
As for the 145-pound champ, Coker said an announcement is forthcoming on her next title defense, adding that it would most likely come in early 2011. As far as possible opponents go, Coker hinted at a possible match-up with 4-0 fighter Cindy Dandois, saying only that he was looking at "a girl with M-1 who had a good fight with Marloes Coenen back in the day."