Strikeforce: Ronda Rousey Making a Fatal Mistake by Overlooking Sarah Kaufman?

Nick Caron@@nicholascaronAnalyst IAugust 18, 2012

Ronda Rousey was featured in ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue" in 2012.
Ronda Rousey was featured in ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue" in 2012.

Strikeforce's Rousey vs. Kaufman event on Aug. 18 will mark yet another monumental moment in women's mixed martial arts as the top two 135-pound women headline a major Zuffa card on Showtime. 

Not only is the card pretty stacked for a Strikeforce event, but the main event between Ronda Rousey and Sarah Kaufman will be historic as it is the first title defense of Rousey's reign as the women's bantamweight champion. 

After weeks of trash talk and speculation on whether she even deserved the title shot in the first place, Rousey won the belt back in March when she defeated then-champion Miesha Tate late in the first round of their contest. 

Since then, Rousey has seen her popularity skyrocket to levels that not even she could have imagined.

As the new "face" of women's MMA, Rousey has been getting lots of attention from reporters, Zuffa executives including Dana White and sponsors—she even found herself on the cover of ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue" wearing nothing but her birthday suit.

From the hunter to the hunted, Rousey now finds herself looking down at a long list of challengers, the first of which she will meet on Saturday night as she battles Sarah Kaufman.

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One would assume that after achieving her goal of being the champion, Rousey would be focused on retaining her title. Yet in recent days, we've seen her become increasingly interested in another potential challenger—the currently suspended Strikeforce women's featherweight champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos. 

After Cyborg called Rousey out at a weight higher than 135 pounds, Rousey responded on TSN Radio's The MMA Report with John Pollack

"She’s never had a fair fight in her life and I see how the prospect of that would scare the hell out of her and why she would insist at fighting heavier," Rousey said, referring to Santos' suspension due to a positive steroid test. "She's completely defamed, and anything she’s ever done is nothing because she is a big old cheater and she's been doping her whole life."

Then during Friday's weigh-ins, things got even more awkward when Cyborg opted to attend, stand up during the Rousey vs. Kaufman photos and wave at her foe.

To her credit, Rousey didn't seen intimidated by the featherweight champion, but based on her comments, there's no doubt that she's already looking past Sarah Kaufman and toward Cyborg.

While Rousey may very well be the best 135-pound female fighter in the world today, her challenger is no slouch.

Kaufman's 15-1 record includes victories over the likes of Shayna Baszler, Liz Carmouche, Alexis Davis (twice) and even Miesha Tate. Needless to say, the former bantamweight champion is looking to get the title back that she believes is rightfully hers. 

Rousey looking past Kaufman could prove to be her downfall on Saturday night. We all know that the former Olympic judo medalist is capable of submitting anyone at any time, but Sarah Kaufman boasts an 86 percent takedown defense in her past seven fights (according to FightMetric).

She has also consistently battered her opponents on the feet. If Rousey can't bring the fight to the ground, she could be in for very long night.

The odds are still in favor of Rousey to walk out of San Diego with the bantamweight title still around her waist, but if she truly is more worried about Cyborg than the challenger in front of her, Rousey's reign will be short-lived. 

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