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."
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.
Kedzie finally made the UFC, only to lose back to back razor thin split decisions, and last month she retired.
Her service to the sport continued seamlessly, assisting Greg Jackson at Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts, and becoming matchmaker for Invicta Fighting Championships.
Kedzie appeared recently on MMA Diehards Radio, and said after mothering women’s MMA for a decade, Julie Kedzie wants to drop knowledge on a child of her own.
“In my personal life, I want to have a kid,” said Kedzie. “I really want a kid. I’m not really good at boyfriends or relationships; well, I haven’t been. I’m unfaithful, I’m scatter-brained, I’m not good at taking care of people, I’m a slob, I’m this, I’m that. But I know I would be a good mom."
“When I see all these Syrian orphans on TV — of course there’s people here, people that need to get adopted here in America, and that’s the first place I would look — but you see all these children with nobody to speak up for all of them, that would be cool. That would be cool to create a life where I could just help one kid out. Or two, or 10.”
“I never achieved the ‘first woman in the UFC,’ Ronda Rousey. Gina Carano? I never achieved that, but I think I did what I was supposed to do. I laid a foundation and that was my role in that. When I made the decision to move on, and now that I know it was the right decision, I’m really happy about it. I did all that and when these girls lose fights, I can say, ‘Yeah, I know what it feels like. Keep going.’ Because I do know what it’s like.”
“For me it was tremendous fun. It was hard because my family did not understand it. They were like, ‘When are you going to go back to school?’ And I’d be like, ‘I’m going to go back to school, don’t worry.’ I got a job working for my cousin on the east coast just so people would stop asking me when I’m going to go back to school. But it was just so much fun because I knew it was what I was supposed to do. I knew I was going to be in the UFC.
“Back then, because it was such a struggle, it made it really fun. I had this mindset where I was going to prove it to everybody. I put this pressure on myself, partly because the pressure wasn’t there in terms of media and everybody looking at you, and it was mostly like it was self-generated pressure. And at the time it worked so well for me. I didn’t win every fight, but I was so happy to go back in the gym the day after a fight. It’s not like at the end here I’ve lost my drive, it’s just that then there was so much at stake.”
“I was motivated by not being angry at myself, but by being like, ‘You got this, f--- everybody. Go, go, go.’ As I got older I had that, but I became very self-criticizing as well. You can use self-criticism to make yourself into a better fighter, which is what I did in my early days, and I think in my latter days in definitely worked against me.
“It was a good lesson to learn for life. I can apply these lessons to everyday life and if someday I have a daughter I can say, ‘You don’t want to puke your guts out every time you eat, because this is what can happen to you.’ I definitely learned some life lessons I can pass on.”
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