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.
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.
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.
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.
Not wishing to become a professional dancer, Kaufman attended the University of Victoria with the goal of becoming a cardiovascular surgeon. After two years, Kaufman decided the fighting was what she really wanted to do in life.
Kaufman defeated Roxanne Modafferi with a highlight-reel KO via powerslam, which was featured on ESPN’s top plays of the week, a first for female MMA. The bout is also the only female fight in the UFC Ultimate 100 Knockouts. Has had notable matchups with Miesha Tate, Shayna Baszler, Roxanne Modafferi, Liz Carmouche and Ronda Rousey.
While not training, Kaufman is a highly-sought strength and conditioning trainer and coaches male and female pro athletes. She is also heavily involved in local fundraising and non-profit initiatives.