After her third-round knockout win over Roxanne
Modafferi in July, Strikeforce 135-pound women's champion
Kaufman said she should be fighting on one of Strikeforce's
main card, not in a Challengers event.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker listened to Kaufman and now her second
title defense, against Dutch fighter Marloes
Coenen, is set for Strikeforce's Oct. 9 card at the HP Pavilion
in San Jose, Calif.
"It's definitely where the title fight should be and we should be
getting main-card slots," said Kaufman during a conference call
Friday to promote the event. "People should be seeing us. I'm glad
to be fighting on the bigger cards. I have to thank Showtime,
Strikeforce and the fans who pushed for this."
It's not often that a promotion's champion is so outspoken about
perceived mistreatments by the promotion they represent, but
Kaufman said she felt that she needed to speak her mind following
the win over Modafferi. The Modafferi victory was Kaufman's fourth
straight appearance in the Challengers series, following wins over
Baszler and Takayo
"It's important for fighters to stand up for what deserve," said
the 24-year-old Kaufman, who is perfect in 12 professional mixed
martial arts fights. "I'm happy I said what I said and my fight
backed up what I said up. Whether it was the fans' reaction (to the
knockout), the fact the highlight ran on ESPN or whatever, it
helped push it onto the main card."
The Coenen fight will be Kaufman's fifth since May 2009 and she
said she was happy Coker has been keeping her busy against quality
"This is another tough fight," said Kaufman, who has nine knockouts
among her 12 wins. "Strikeforce has been putting me in there
against some tough fighters. My last four fights have been tough
but I can't ask for much more from Strikeforce."
Coenen, who has 15 finishes (three knockouts, 12 submissions) among
her 17 wins, has lost two of her last three fights. However, her
most recent setback was a third-round knockout stoppage at the
hands of pound-for-pound standout Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos in a
January bid for the Strikeforce 145-pound title.
"I think the referee stopped the Cyborg fight too soon," said
Coenen, who has never been submitted in 21 MMA bouts. "If the
referee had been a woman, the fight wouldn't have been stopped that
fast. I'm very blessed to get two title shots in a row, but I've
never fought (at 135 pounds), so that's a challenge. I'm looking
forward to this fight."
Some followers of MMA have been critical of Strikeforce for giving
the 29-year-old Coenen an immediate title shot since she was
knocked out by Santos in her last fight. In addition, Tate won a
one-night tournament in August to earn a title shot of her own.
Coenen pointed out her long fight career -- her pro debut was in
November 2000 -- and the fact she was willing to take on Santos as
reasons she should get a title fight with Kaufman ahead of
"I've been fighting for 10 years, so I do think proven myself,"
said Coenen. "I fought (Santos) and gave her a tough fight. I don't
feel the criticism is valid."
Coenen said the loss to Santos taught her some lessons she hopes to
implement against Kaufman in what could be a stand-up war.
"I stepped in (against Santos) thinking I could knock her out and
it didn't work out," said Coenen. "But I've proven to myself I can
take a punch and in a way, that makes you feel good. This was one
of the best fights I've ever had and helped make me better. Sarah's
a worthy champion and I like Sarah's style. She's fierce and goes
for the knockout and that's my style as well. She's a striker and I
like to dish it out as well, so I think it'll stay on the
The main event of Strikeforce's Oct. 9 card at the HP Pavilion in
San Jose, Calif. is a welterweight championship fight between
defending champion Nick Diaz and
K.J. Noons in a rematch of a 2007 fight that saw Noons pick up a
Strikeforce “Diaz vs. Noons 2” will air live on Showtime at 10 p.m.
ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast.