Victoria's Kaufman set to challenge Rousey on Aug. 18

The Canadian Press

8/8/2012 4:17:23 PM

SAN DIEGO -- Sarah Kaufman and Ronda Rousey aren't just fighting each other, they're fighting to raise the profile of women in mixed martial arts.

"We're fighting for our survival, literally," Rousey said Wednesday in a conference call ahead of her fight against Kaufman Aug. 18 on Showtime.

"I want this sport to succeed and it's one of my goals," said Rousey.

She will defend her Strikeforce bantamweight title against former champion Kaufman, a native of Victoria, B.C. The two meet at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, Calif.

"Women's MMA is here to stay as long as people like me and Sarah and all these other people out there putting the work in are still around.

"I see only positive things happening for women's MMA," Rousey said.

Kaufman has been working toward the same goal.

"It has been a long road," she said. "I've tried to push women's MMA along since I first fought for Strikeforce and... Showtime had a title fight on a challenger's card."

She too sees success and wants to maintain the momentum so more women see MMA as a possibility.

"It's (now) the main event on a big card and Showtime and Strikeforce are both supporting that and the fans are there to kind of back it up and that's all I can really ask for," said Kaufman.

Rousey, a judoka with a record of 5-0 who has been known for her trash talk in the past, had none of it for Kaufman, a kickboxing specialist with a record of 15-1.

"She seems like a pretty cool chick and I don't have any problems with her so I feel no need to invent any," said Rousey.

Both said they had been training hard to accommodate whatever the other fighter brings.

Rousey, a former Olympic bronze medallist, has won all her fights with an armbar submission but she has been working on her striking.

Kaufman says she has been working on ways to ensure she doesn't get caught by the armbar, which cost her the title in her only career loss in October 2010 to Dutch fighter Marloes Coenen.

"I was lucky enough to be able to work with some of the great people for this fight. I've had Sheila Bird come out, who's a phenomenal grappler," said Kaufman, who's has had three wins since losing to Coenen.