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SAN DIEGO -- Ronda Rousey is a part of Saturday night's main event, so it's only fitting that she went straight to the pro wrestling playbook for a little trash talk.
The Strikeforce bantamweight champion from Venice, Calif., is no stranger to outlandish comments, and she didn't hold back on Thursday when telling Sarah Kaufman what she plans on doing at the Valley View Casino Center when the two meet with Rousey's title on the line.
"She might not know it, but she should thank her lucky stars that MMA is properly regulated in California," Rousey (5-0) said. "Because I respect her so much that I'm not taking any chances. If I get her in an armbar, I'm going to rip it off and throw it at her corner. If I get her in a choke, I'm going to hold on until she's actually dead. And if I get her in a knock out all the way, I'm going to pound her face into the ground, and she's depending on the competence of the California Athletic Commission in order to be able to walk out of that cage alive."
Kaufman, for her part, smiled and laughed her way through Rousey's comments, and her reply made it clear she doesn't plan to let Rousey get in her head the way the champion has with previous opponents.
"That's great," said Kaufman. "That's a fight, and that's what you want to do. You don't want to come in and play pattycakes. That's not what we're here for. We're here to show up and do everything we possibly can to win. Hopefully no one dies in the process, but its a fight and anything can happen. It's great. People are excited, and people want to see two athletes show up and fighting."
The avalanche of publicity for Saturday night's bout makes this the biggest women's MMA fight since Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos defeated Gina Carano in front of a near-sellout crowd in San Jose four years ago this weekend. Both fighters maintain that they've been able to keep their focus on Saturday despite the media circus.
Kaufman (15-1) noted that Rousey has gotten the lion's share of attention. But the former 135-pound champion from Victoria, B.C. doesn't believe it will serve as a distraction once the cage door shuts.
"There has been a certain amount of focus on Ronda," said Kaufman. "I think she's dealt with it well. I have no doubt she's trained fully for this fight, the pressure hasn't affected her at all. And I really feel the same thing. I focus on my camp, I focus on my team, whatever fight I have coming up, I train harder than I would for any other fight. I feel really confident coming into this fight, Ronda's gonna bring it. She's going to show up to fight, she's gonna try to kill me, but that's alright. At the end of the day, someone's going to walk off with the belt and it's going to be me."
As for Rousey, she still maintains that unlike with some of her previous opponents, she likes Kaufman as a person, but that won't get in the way of getting business done.
"It has nothing to do with whether I like her or respect her, she seems like a nice chick," Rousey said. "Every single time I go in to fight I fight like my little sister's life is depending on it. And in that kind of situation, no one can beat me."
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