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Happy Holidays 2014: UFC fighters Sarah Kaufman, Randa Markos share holiday plans and goals

Last year, we asked a few fighters and personalities last year to share their holiday plans and we did it again this year.

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No. 5 UFC women’s bantamweight and B.C. native Sarah Kaufman (17-2-0, 1 NC) defeated Leslie Smith earlier in April. While she doesn’t have a fight lined up yet, she’s healthy and looking to quickly get back on the road towards a title shot in 2015.

Sarah Kaufman

Sarah Kaufman enters the octagon in a file photo. (Photo by Nick Laham/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC \via Getty Images)

“I’m waiting on a fight date for the most part,” Kaufman told MMA Crossfire. “I’ll be training throughout the holidays, but if I can get a fight camp before then, if we can find out in the next week or so, so  I can get a fight camp going. Otherwise, some casual training with some training partners who I think want the time off,” she laughed. “Might have to force them into it, because I’ll be coming in. A lot of time to hang out with close friends and my dogs and some house-sitting. A regular holiday, really.”

Kaufman watched the recent TUF 20 Finale and like many fans came away impressed with the fighters, in particular Windsor’s Randa Markos.

TUF 20

Team Pettis fighter Randa Markos gets her hands wrapped in a file photo. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“I was really impressed by Randa,” she said. “I didn’t know of her before the show. She was seeded low and ended up doing so well. She’s tough. I remember saying if she’s ever out west, it would be fun to train together because she’s feisty and really proved she has some great skillset behind her.”

“She has a lot of heart and a lot of resilience that you don’t necessarily expect.”

TUF 20

Team Pettis fighter Randa Markos controls Tecia Torres in a file photo. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

For 2015, Kaufman’s goals include more of an emphasis on solidifying a future outside of the octagon.

“From  a career standpoint, I’d like to have more than one or two fights a year, which have been the last couple of years due to some unfortunate circumstances (injuries, minor car accident). I’m hoping 2015 really turns it around for me, in terms of being more active in the cage.

Sarah Kaufman

Sarah Kaufman in a file photo. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

“I’d really like to start working with youth groups and different population demographics through (public) speaking endeavours. Just kind of spreading what I’ve learned through my journey to others. to try and motivate others.”

“I’d like to open up those avenues as opposed to just fight and wait for the next one.” – Sarah Kaufman

Meanwhile, it’s been anything but a quiet storm for#7-ranked strawweight Randa Markos (4-3-0) this year. She placed in the Final Four of TUF 20, and valiantly lost to fellow TUF 20 Final Four finalist Jessica Penne on the TUF 20 Finale.

Randa Markos

Randa Markos speaks with the media during The Ultimate Fighter Finale Ultimate Media Day at the Palms Casino Resort on December 10, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

During the show she built up a legion of fans, but perhaps more importantly, shored up some respect from peers like Kaufman.

“I just went in there to fight and be myself and luckily people liked and appreciated it.” – Randa Markos

“I need to tighten a lot of things. My jiu-jitsu… If I had my coaches there for the Rose fight, things might have been a bit more different.  I might have controlled her a little bit more, but I’m not taking anything from Rose. She’s a great fighter, a great submission artist.”

Team Melendez fighter Rose Namajunas (top) controls the body of team Pettis fighter Randa Markos during TUF 20. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

T
eam Melendez fighter Rose Namajunas (top) controls the body of team Pettis fighter Randa Markos during TUF 20. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“A lot of people said I won the Jessica Penne fight. I didn’t watch the fight, I haven’t built up enough courage to watch it over again. I fought my heart out. I have a lot of things I need to work on. As you saw, I’ve improved a bit from my fight in the house.

Randa Markos

Jessica Penne exchanges punches with Randa Markos. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“I don’t care about rankings. I’m just looking to get better and come back stronger. I know the next time, it’ll be a completely different fight and I’ll be a completely different person.”

Family seems to be the holiday theme for the Markos household.

“I’m planning to relax, take it easy and hang out with my family,” she said.” That’s the most important thing right now. I have five little nieces and nephews that I barely ever get to see. They’re so fun to be around, they put a smile on my face, so I’m just looking to hang around with them more.

That includes plans for a big family meal on Christmas Day, but don’t be surprised if she sneaks in some training somewhere.

“I’m probably going to drive out to Michigan and train a bit (with Michigan Top Team) but they’re probably going to try and convince me to take it easy and relax,” she laughed.

https://twitter.com/ChloeWaters1995/status/546527834353991682

She went with an artificial Christmas tree last year, but relishes being able to pick a natural one this year.

“I wanted that feeling of that whole picking-out-the-tree and having the smell in the house. I was excited for that.”

The Quiet Storm also hinted to keep an eye on her Twitter page, because she’ll probably tweet and post holiday pictures.

Did you know Randa was a big WWE fan when she was in high school? When the WWE was the WWF, some of her favourites included Rikishi Fatu and The Rock. But she couldn’t forget Triple H (Hunter Hearst Helmsley) who still appears on WWE programming today. And yes, though she didn’t watch CM Punk when he was in the former federation, she thinks he’ll do fine in the octagon.

As a bonus, we also checked in with some personalities MMA Crossfire readers keeping score might recall.

Remember country music star Michelle Wright from our conversation last year? Her cousin is none other than former WBC light-heavyweight champion and now retired Canadian boxer “The Golden Boy” Donny Lalonde.

Michelle Wright

The Wrights – Marcos and Michelle.

She’s been on the road touring for much of 2014, after releasing the album Strong in July of 2013.

Michelle Wright

Michelle and her five dogs L-R behind: Miniature blue merle Australian Bella, Beagle Labrador mix  17-year-old Gracie, Toy Fox Terrier Lycos and Sophia, Bella’s twin sister. Winter, the white German Shepard in front. Credit: Michelle Wright.

“The only plans I have are to hang out with my husband Marco and our five (5) dogs, since I travel with my job and Marco travels with his.

“All we want to do is stay home and be together.

“Happy and thankful.”

You could say – in a manner of speaking – that the Wrights are roughing it this year.

English author and prisoners advocate Shaun Attwood continues to work on his Prison Time series of books. Crossfire readers will remember our 2013 conversation. Planned are biography books of his friends T-Bone and Two Tonys in 2015.

Shaun Attwood

Shaun Attwood, flanked by his sister Karen (L) and partner Callie.

Of course, that’s in between the lectures to the children about his life experiences.

“On Christmas Day I’ll be having traditional Christmas dinner with my parents up by Liverpool,” he said.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE MMA CROSSFIRE CREW

@kenaiandrews

Categories
ExtrafeatureHappy HolidaysnewsUFC

Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.
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