It’s been an eventful last month for former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman.

First came the news that the fighter would be debuting with all-women’s promotion Invicta FC on April 5 against Leslie Smith.

Now, on the heels of the UFC’s first women’s fight between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche at UFC 157, Kaufman has confirmed that she too will fight in the famed Octagon.

“I have a contract with the UFC,” the Canadian told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “Whenever they say you are fighting on this date, I will be there and I will be ready.”

Of course, that news raised the question of what would happen to her originally scheduled clash with Smith, but the Jackson’s MMA product revealed that the fight is still set to go on as planned.

“The UFC has given me written permission to fight for Invicta, so I’m allowed to take the fight,” she explained. “If an opportunity came up to fight prior to April 5, the UFC would have the right to use me and pull me from the Invicta fight, but I don’t think that’ll be happening.”

With Zuffa closing the doors on Strikeforce—Kaufman’s former home—the fighter is happy that the UFC parent company is allowing her to stay active outside the promotion, thanks in large part to the mutual respect shown by UFC President Dana White and Invicta President Shannon Knapp.

“It’s great to have that relationship between Dana and Shannon,” said Kaufman. “[Fighters] are able to take other fights if the UFC doesn’t have a fight coming up for us. They can say yes or no to whatever match Invicta is looking for.

“I think it’s great. I don’t want to be sitting on the shelf waiting for months and months on end. Of course I want to fight in the UFC, and that’s going to be happening. The important thing for fighters is to stay active, stay in the cage.

“Shannon Knapp does a really good job of treating the fighters well and giving them opportunities to have some amazing fights.”

Although the uninformed might think that fighting for Invicta would be less enticing now that the UFC has created a 135-pound division, the 27-year-old is quick to point out just how much talent the upstart promotion has on its roster.

“They have some of the top fighters in the world,” she declared. “Invicta’s doing a great job of going to every corner of the world and pulling fighters from each weight class into their organization. They’re building up new 135ers and they’re giving experienced 135ers amazing fights. Zuffa is keeping an eye on all the 135ers and [Invicta] has been a good place for them.

“After I beat Liz [Carmouche], she had two fights for Invicta and now fought for the [UFC] title. [There’s] Alexis Davis, who I fought in Strikeforce—she had a couple of fights in Invicta and now she’s getting pulled over. A lot of the females fought for Strikeforce and then Invicta. It’s great for Zuffa because it’s giving their fighters high-level talent and keeping them active.”

Although Kaufman is excited to make her Invicta debut alongside many of the biggest names in women’s MMA, including Cris “Cyborg” Justino and Zoila Gurgel, she’s already got her eyes set on UFC gold and another shot at champion Ronda Rousey. After all, it was Rousey who handed Kaufman her most recent defeat under the Strikeforce banner.

“I want to fight for the UFC title and be the titleholder,” she proclaimed. “That is definitely the ultimate goal in the sport. I clearly want a rematch with Ronda; I didn’t fight it to my potential whatsoever and got caught early. I want that fight back.

“But how I get there is by fighting, winning fights, having good fights. You can’t rush it.”

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @mmasarah

Photo: Sarah Kaufman (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

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