Top MMA News goes Five Rounds with Sarah Kaufman
Top MMA News was on hand for an interview with Sarah Kaufman and her trainer Adam Zugec of ZUMA Martial Arts before Sarah’s upcoming World Title defense this Friday for Strikeforce.
Q. Sarah, can you tell me a little bit about your history and how you started training in MMA? You started out as a dancer?
A. Sarah: I did. I had been a dancer for 17 years and I also pursued studies at university to prepare me for med school. But when Adam opened up a new martial arts school under my dance studio, I had to try it out. I was just looking for something fun and different and a sport that would let me vent my aggression positively.
Q. How long have you been competing and how long have you been teaching?
A. Sarah: I have been teaching at ZUMA since 2004. I have been competing professionally since January 3rd 2006 but began competing in amateur competitions in 2004.
Q. And you’re still undefeated?
A. Sarah: Yes, I am 11-0-0 professionally and my upcoming fight for Strikeforce is for the 135lb Title Defense on July 23rd in Everett, Washington.
Q. You’re currently ranked number one in the world in your weight division and I’m sure you’d like to stay there. What are you going to have to do to ensure continued success?
A. Sarah: I need to keep improving in between fights. The more experienced a fighter gets, the less they learn in between fights and it becomes a 6 week job where you just get in shape for a fight rather than evolve. To keep evolving I need to keep learning and getting better in every aspect of MMA that I possibly can.
Q. What can you tell me about your upcoming fight against Roxanne Modafferi? What do you expect to see from her?
A. Sarah: Well 10 of her 15 wins have been by decision so she’s not necessarily a strong finisher. And as you know, I like to finish fights. She has unorthodox striking which is a little bit strange but I don’t see that affecting my game at all.
Q. Have you been doing anything different to prepare for this one as far as training goes? Modafferi has been said to favor the art of grappling over striking. Does that affect your game?
A. Sarah: No, that doesn’t change things for me. Roxanne has also said she’s going to stand with me and knock me out. So I haven’t been working any more on my ground game than normal. She might try to stand with me but I think she’s going to cop out and look for the take down. I’m comfortable everywhere and I’m ready for her.
(For fans looking to see the Modafferi interview referred to, see infinitemma.com’s Girls of MMA)
Q. How about your nutrition and cutting weight? How has that been going this time around?
A. Sarah: Between Adam Zugec, myself, and Tyler Goodale, we’ve really set what works for me and what doesn’t as far as diet, nutrition, cardio, conditioning, and technique goes. At this point we’re really comfortable and know what works for me and what I need to do to cut weight properly.
Q. So you’re walking around at about 150 now. What about Roxanne?
A. Sarah: I think Roxanne’s walking around at about 137lbs but since I’m really comfortable cutting the weight it’s not going to be a problem. I’m definitely stronger and I’m going to try to finish this fight before 5 rounds.
Q. Any plans for the future after this fight? Is there anyone you’ve got your sights set on for the next one?
A. Sarah: I’m definitely not looking past Friday right now. I’m concentrating on this fight only. I’d love to move up from the Challengers card but right now I just want to work on the fight against Roxanne.
Q. Can you give us any quick comments about last Friday’s AFC 3 Card and the ZUMA team?
A. Sarah: There were some really good fights on Friday. Nick and Diego are really coming into their own and that’s really exciting to see. Diego was just an animal on Friday. The guys are really discovering and developing their own fighting style. The team is evolving so much right now.
Q. What do you attribute Sarah’s success to? It’s obviously not chance. What sets her apart from other female fighters or fighters in general for that matter?
A. Adam: I believe in working with a certain type of fighters and that’s what makes all our fighters at ZUMA successful. A lot of people want to do it but for some it’s for the wrong reasons. Sarah is at the top because of the right reasons. She has an absolute commitment to the sport. She goes over and above to the point where I sometimes have to hold her back so that she doesn’t over-train. She is extremely disciplined in her diet. Fighting is who she is and she has dedicated herself whole-heartedly to the sport. A lot of guys want to do it for the attention but to me that’s not what a true fighter is, and that’s a discredit to the sport. It is very rare to find the type of dedication that Sarah has and that’s why she’s on top. She is a very rare individual.