In the early days of mixed martial arts, the sport was promoted as the ultimate proving ground for different disciplines to meet up and prove which was superior.
Bouts pitted karate fighters against sumo fighters, wrestlers against jiu-jitsu practitioners, and boxers against Taekwondo competitors. In the modern age of MMA, while every fighter has a base skill set, almost everyone understands the basics of boxing, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu, and rarely is anyone seen as one-dimensional any longer.
Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey trains every discipline of mixed martial arts, but it’s hard to ignore her excellent judo and submission skills that led to an impressive 5-0 record with no fights making it out of the first round.
Rousey’s judo has been so dominant that no one has ever even really had to chance to see the other parts of her game and how developed they may or may not be.
Former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman, who faces Rousey this Saturday night, knows she’s not stepping into the cage with a one-dimensional fighter, but she also doesn’t expect the former Olympic bronze medalist to try much of anything new against her.
“It’s clear what Ronda likes to do. She likes to use her judo, which she’s really good at. She likes to use her throws and she wants to transition to those fast submissions. I don’t expect much different from her because going in for your first title defense, why fix something that’s not broken? It’s been working for you,” Kaufman explained on MMAWeekly Radio.
In Rousey’s last fight she submitted now former champion Miesha Tate by armbar in the first round, matching the exact way she finished her previous four opponents.
Looking at the match-up, Kaufman wasn’t too surprised that the fight between Rousey and Tate ended the way that it did because of how they matched up against each other: Rousey, a judo player and submission artist, against Tate, who is primarily a wrestler and a grappler.
In other words, the fight was going to hit the ground at some point and that played right into Rousey’s hands. Kaufman has no plans of being quite as inviting as Rousey’s last opponent.
“You really haven’t seen her against anyone yet who has been able to both challenge her on her feet as well as land those strong strikes on the ground. Once you’re getting hit on the ground, your grappling changes when it’s MMA. Miesha, she didn’t fight the best fight, but she had Ronda in some quite dangerous positions and just wasn’t able to capitalize on them,” said Kaufman.
Kaufman’s plan is to bring Rousey into unfamiliar waters and then drown her. She wants to land the knockout and bring the Ronda Rousey train to a screeching halt.
But for Sarah Kaufman, the ultimate motivation isn’t beating Ronda Rousey, stealing her hype or even taking home the belt. It’s just about the victory.
“I love winning and I hate losing and that’s my motivation,” said Kaufman.
“Of course, I want to get that title back. Of course, I want to be the best in the world and prove that to everyone, and have the recognition of having the Strikeforce bantamweight title.”
For more Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman talk tune into MMAWeekly Radio.