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Born Athlete: Kaufman has been an athlete since childhood. She began taking dance classes at the age of two and went on to dance jazz, hip-hop and ballet during her teens. Kaufman began her martial arts career at age 17 after stumbling upon a “kickboxercise” class being held in the same building as her dance studio.
Transition: Thrilled by the change of pace from dance, Kaufman quickly graduated to full Thai boxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes. After a couple years of training, the British Columbia native wanted to test herself and began smashing around in local tournaments with trainer Adam Zugec.
Full-Fledged Fighter: With the help of Zugec, Kaufman took her first pro MMA fight in June of 2006. Three years later, Kaufman accepted a late-notice call-up to the Strikeforce organization to fight for the inaugural women’s bantamweight title. Despite being matched against the highly-touted Miesha Tate, Kaufman proved she was ready for the big leagues by taking a three-round decision.
Big Names: After defeating Miesha Tate, Kaufman defended her title against women’s MMA veteran Roxanne Modafferi. She lost her title to Marloes Coenen, who was 17-4 at the time, but rebounded with wins over future UFC title challenger Liz Carmouche and Alexis Davis in what was the female fight of 2012.
Before the Octagon: Kaufman worked as a cashier and bakery girl at a grocery store, as well as a tutor before diving head first into MMA.