After months of buildup and hours of undercard bouts, Ronda Rousey's first defense of her Strikeforce women's bantamweight title lasted less than 60 seconds.
Perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise, as all five previous fights in the 25-year-old judoka's young professional mixed-martial-arts career followed a similar, no-nonsense script — moments after tapping gloves in the center of the cage, Rousey's opponent is tapping the canvas to escape an armbar that is becoming the stuff of legend.
Only Rousey's win over Miesha Tate on March 3 to claim the belt lasted longer than a minute (4:27, first round), but even that fight ended just as suddenly and in the same way as all the others, with an elbow joint bending in an unnatural manner.
And that was the fate of challenger Sarah Kaufman Saturday night at "Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman" at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, where Rousey, who trains at the Glendale Fighting Club, needed just 54 seconds to submit Kaufman and improve to 6-0, 4-0 in Strikeforce.
Following the win, Rousey interrupted interviewer Mauro Ranallo's first question of a postfight interview and issued a challenge to suspended former Strikeforce featherweight champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, who reportedly was in attendance.
"I need to send out a challenge to Miss Cyborg out there," she said. "People want to see the first fair fight of your life. I'm the champ now. The champ doesn't go to you, you go to the champ. Come down to 135 and let's settle this."
Rousey came out with a flurry of punches to open the fight before going into a clinch with Kaufman (15-2) backed up against the fence. Within 30 seconds, Rousey had Kaufman off her feet and into an armbar attempt, which Kaufman was able to defend by rolling and stacking up, but only for so long.
Criticized at times for being a one-trick fighter, Rousey showed she could punch her way through Kaufman's power unhurt for a quick takedown that was the beginning of the end.
"Ronda put on a great performance," Kaufman (15-2) said afterward to mmafighting.com. "I'm embarrassed by my performance. I don't really know what else to say. Ronda did a great job. She got the armbar, I defended it. She continued with it, I defended it, and she ended up getting it so I'm really disappointed. I really wanted to land some good quality strikes but it didn't happen tonight."