Julie Kedzie @Julesk_fighter
•Before walking out to my fight today, I had a long talk with my coach and we decided that this would be my last MMA fight.
•I would have loved to have gone out on a win, but c'est la vie-don't leave it to the judges. Heartbreak is a huge part of this sport.
•I really truly want to thank all of you for being a part of my journey as a fighter. I will still be involved in MMA for the rest of my life
•..but now it's time for me to accept that I can give more to the sport by stepping back and taking role in helping to develop other fighters
•From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the @UFC , my team, and all of you who have made me achieve some amazing dreams.
Before Ronda Rousey ever stepped onto an Olympic judo mat, or Gina Carano stepped into the cage that brought her to a Hollywood career, Julie Kedzie was fighting in one-night, 8-woman tournaments.
It all started when she watched a DVD of women fighting in a HOOKnSHOOT event, promoted by the father of women's MMA, Jeff Osborne. She would go on to win three fights in one night, taking the 2005 HOOKnSHOOT Women's Grand Prix.
"Once I saw the fights, I knew that is what I wanted to do," said Kedzie. "I knew it was destiny. I got my degree and then I went out to California and started training."
"All those years, Dana said he'd never have women fight in the UFC, and I didn't believe it," said Kedzie. "I'd tell people: 'I'm going to fight in the UFC one day,' and people would say 'yeah, sure.' You can call it destiny or fate or whatever you want to call it, but I always believed this day would come.
In 2007 Kedzie fought Gina Carano on Showtime's MMA debut in the fight that put WMMA on the map. Carano and Kedzie stole the show.
"This is going to sound arrogant, but my legacy has already been made," said Kedzie. "I was one of a group of girls who helped push this thing forward and fought when no one wanted us fighting."
Now 32, Kedzie has made the decision to retire. She discussed why in an interview with MMAJunkie.
“I started to realize that so many of the things that motivate people, I just don’t feel the same way about it,” said Kedzie. “Like when Ronda Rousey says she’ll die in the cage, I think, I don’t want to die. I just want to fight well. But maybe that’s what I’m missing. Maybe that edge has kind of been smoothed down on me. I don’t think it’s a lack of passion, and I don’t think it’s a lack of crazy, because I am kind of crazy. I think, I don’t know, maybe I’ve just worked my issues out now.”
“Greg said I should let myself have that possibility, that plenty of people retire and come back in six months and there’s no shame in it, but something in it feels final to me.”
“I still want to do well and beat people up, but there’s this hunger for fame and glory and titles that I just don’t have. I’m not saying that as a critique of other fighters, because I do think that’s an important element to a championship mindset. But if I’m being honest with myself, I come from more of a martial arts background where I like the respect at the end of the day. Like, I learned a good lesson and had fun, now let’s go home. That’s the motivation I come from, and I just don’t think it’s gelling with ambition very well.”
“I started because I loved it, and I ended loving it. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to retire now, while I still love it, before it became a chore.”
Julie Kedzie's service to the sport will continue seamlessly. Assisting Greg Jackson at Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts, providing fight commentary for Invicta Fighting Championships, and whatever ever other efforts she chooses to pursue will make her a vital part of this sport for a very long time to come.
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