Note: This is a piece I wrote for Cage Pages about Sarah Kaufman’s free agent status.
One thing mixed martial arts fans have learned over the years is that when a fighter parts ways with the UFC, it isn’t necessarily the last time they’ll compete in the octagon – in fact many fighters will leave the UFC banner only to return later.
This can be the case with UFC veteran Sarah Kaufman. The former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion hadn’t fought in the UFC since December where she dropped a decision to Valentina Shevchenko. Since then fans were wondering when Kaufman would fight next. Then there were reports that Kaufman’s fighter profile had been taking off the UFC website.
In an interview with MMA Fighting, Kaufman explained that her UFC contract expired in December and was not renewed after she lost to Shevchenko.
Kaufman was offered to fight Invicta featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino at UFC 198 – and Kaufman was certainly willing to step in and face her fellow Stirkeforce titleholder even though she was injured in training – but the fight never came together.
Kaufman was one of the first fighter signed to the UFC women’s bantamweight division in 2013. She fought Jessica Eye in her promotional debut. Although Eye initially won the fight via split-decision, it was overturned after the “Evil” one tested positive for marijuana. Kaufman went 1-2 in her next three fights, including a decision win over Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith and losses to Alexis Davis and Shevchenko.
It’s not really a surprise why the UFC decided not to renew Kaufman’s contract – even she realizes that, according to the interview. But this setback could be a new beginning for her.
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