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Sarah Kaufman announces retirement from MMA: ‘I have loved every second in the cage’

Sarah Kaufman
Sarah Kaufman
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Sarah Kaufman, one of the pioneers of women’s MMA, is hanging up her gloves.

On Thursday, Kaufman revealed in a heartfelt post on her social media that she is retiring from MMA after a 17-year career in the sport.

While I’ve known since the beginning of my career that it couldn’t continue forever, it’s a bit surreal to finally announce that I am officially retiring from the professional sport of MMA. While I have made my last walk as a competitor, I will always be involved in some capacity as a coach and recreational athlete. I have loved every second in the cage and the amazing people I have met around the world will forever be part of my family.

Starting at 20 years old, I wasn’t sure exactly who I was as a person; but through my 17 year journey, all the people and experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. I am proud of my accomplishments and how I always carried myself with poise, professionalism and never compromised my integrity to get ahead.

I have been fortunate to work with the most amazing coaches and teammates: I couldn’t have done it without you. To all of the competitors I shared the cage with, the teammates I shared hours training with, the fans and supporters who were behind me, the sponsors who enabled me to do what I love, the media who gave me a platform to get my story out there, the promotions who had me step in their cages:

Thank you.

To my head coach, Adam Zugec, Zuma teammates, and longtime coach Ty Goodale: thank you for being in my corner always. To the Jackson-Wink crew, the Roufusport crew, the Syndicate crew: you will always be family. There are too many people to thank individually. You know who you are. You are appreciated.

I have nothing else to say except I am sad the journey has ended but am also at peace knowing I gave everything I could to the sport of MMA. I hope I left it better than when I started.

I am excited to be moving on on my terms and stepping into a new career where I can continue to help others in the community.

A standout during the rise of women’s MMA, Kaufman, 36, fought a who’s who of competition, including Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko, and Liz Carmouche. The Canadian fighter won the inaugural Strikeforce bantamweight championship in 2010, before eventually dropping the title to Marloes Coenen.

In 2013, Kaufman joined the UFC where she went 1-2 (1 NC) before exiting the organization. She then went on to become a one-time Invicta FC bantamweight champion, but left the organization to compete for the PFL, where she bowed out in the 2019 lightweight semifinals.

In her final fight in November 2021, Kaufman won her featherweight debut over Jessy Miele by first-round TKO. Her overall pro record stands at 22-5 (1 NC).

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