Liz Carmouche

Heading into Strikeforce Challengers 17 Liz Carmouche is hoping to steal the show.

After making her presence felt in March against Marloes Coenen, Carmouche (5-1) is no longer flying under the radar in the Strikeforce women’s 135-pound division.

Following the loss to Coenen, the Strikeforce brass decided to keep the 27-year-old facing the upper echelon of the division, giving her a fight against former Strikeforce welterweight champion Sarah Kaufman (13-1) at this Friday night’s Strikeforce Challengers 17 fight card in Las Vegas.

The San Diego resident loves the challenges presented to her and feels honored that she has the opportunity to face the top ranked females in her division, all without much experience in the world of MMA

“I learned so much both in the fight with Marloes Coenen and the fight with Jan Finney,” Carmouche told MMAWeekly Radio.

“These are two really experienced women, who have really made a name for themselves in the sport.  So just to have an opportunity to face them, with me being so brand new, was such an honor.  To actually excel and do well was great for me, I’ve learned so much and I’ve improved my game.”

The Strikeforce brass saw a lot of potential in Carmouche that night against Coenen and made the decision to keep giving her top talent in the female’s welterweight division.  But such opportunity comes with a lot of expectations.

“Honestly, when it comes to my teammates, when it comes to my trainers, they don’t put a lot of pressure on me.  The person who puts on the most pressure is myself.  I expect so much of myself.  I expect perfection.

“I push myself to limits that they don’t necessarily, so they don’t necessarily expect me to have to push myself.  They want the best for me certainly but there’s no pressure from them.  They just want me to have a good time and just pick it up the way I want to pick it up.”

Kaufman presents a unique challenge to the 27-year-old, as she is known for her hands and solid takedown defense. Carmouche, however, believes that the two have very similar styles in that they go forward and push the pace.

“I think that our styles are kind of similar.  I mean that our styles are kind of headstrong, keep going, fighting, never stopping, and just brawlers.  She looks like a beast. I’m really looking forward to that, but I see gaps that I hope to capitalize on.”

The main event of Strikeforce Challengers 17 is the final fight in the trilogy between Roger Bowling and Bobby Voelker.  Many pundits feel that while those two fighters are tremendously talented, that the bout with two top fighters like Liz Carmouche and Sarah Kaufman are main event worthy.

“No offense to the main event, but I’m hoping to steal the show and take that away from them.”

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