by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
At this past weekend’s EliteXC show in Southaven, Mississippi, two women entered the cage amidst a lot of hype and uncertainty from some onlookers, and ended up rocking the house with one of the most exciting fights on the card.
One of half of that dynamic duo was Indiana’s Julie “Jules” Kedzie. The heavy underdog to Gina Carano, Kedzie fought hard through adversity, and even though she lost, she impressed everyone who saw the fight and showed the heart of a true warrior.
Shortly after arriving home from Mississippi, Jules spoke to MMAWeekly about her historic fight, her future prospects and the possible rematches that could await her.
MMAWeekly: First off Julie, how do you feel about your performance against Gina Carano at EliteXC last Saturday?
Julie Kedzie: If I think about it and I divorce myself from my own disappointment in my performance, kind of take my own view of myself out of it, I’m extremely proud of both of us for what we showed out there. I’m really pleased. I think we showed, together, what women are capable of.
MMAWeekly: I’d say so, by all accounts you outshined most of the men on the card.
Julie Kedzie: I didn’t see all the night’s fights, but I would say that definitely, yeah, we showed something out there.
MMAWeekly: Heading into the fight you had told us that you felt her coming down 20lbs in weight could have an effect on the fight. Now that it’s over, do you feel it had a big impact?
Julie Kedzie: Oh yeah, I thought it was a huge effect on the fight. I think she was clearly very strong, like much stronger than me and bigger than me and I got pushed around a lot in that fight. I wasn’t expecting to get bullied around as much, because usually I’m the bully. So it was a good eye-opener for me, a good experience.
MMAWeekly: Still, you have to feel good that you hung in there and put on quite a show for the fans.
Julie Kedzie: Absolutely, I’m very pleased. There were times in the fight where I was definitely getting rocked, ready to go [out] and was like, “Okay, well I’m done.” [Laughs] But there was something more pushing me and I think it was my desire to really represent us well. Yeah I was the fall guy, the guy that got totally stomped, but at the same time, I didn’t give up. I think it shows the amount of heart that we have, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. It shows how much talent, strength and heart there is in the woman’s division, and hopefully it will open up a few doors.
MMAWeekly: One thing I feel that stood out about your fight was the level of respect and sportsmanship that went above some of the male fighters that evening. How do you feel about showing such sportsmanship/unity when others that evening couldn’t?
Julie Kedzie: Again, I didn’t hear all the comments – my ears were ringing most of the night [laughs] – so I didn’t hear what was said later or anything like that, but as I said in the press conference, we were also there to perform something together, to bring the view of women’s fighting to the public eye. In my opinion, we are trying to show we are athletes, that we’re doing a sport, and that we’re professionals at it, and I think professionals need to act like it.
It’s funny because my Aunt was watching the fight and she was surprised that we were beating the crap out of each other, but at the end of the third round we hugged, and I’m like “Yeah, it’s a war, but it’s a war we’re fighting together.” So we may be on opposite sides, but at the end of the war, you’ve done it together, so that’s how I feel about that. There’s no reason to be a bad sport about things. I understand that shit happens and there’s shit talking, being upset and being disappointed, but in the end you have to be able to walk away with your head held up.
I feel when I’m disappointed in myself is when I’m not treating people with the respect they deserve. And she [Gina] deserved all the respect for what she did out there, even if it was to me. [Laughs]
MMAWeekly: I think a lot of that sportsmanship also showed at the weigh-ins when it looked like Gina might have to strip naked to make weight, but you intervened and didn’t make her have to do that.
Julie Kedzie: My job is to fight, her job is to fight, she’s a professional and I’m sure she would have done it [made weight], but it’s humiliating to get naked in front of a room full of guys. For me, there was nothing to gain by making her do that [strip naked]. I mean we’re both there to fight and that’s what we’re going to do. When they told me it was just a pound or half a pound or something like that, I was like, “Screw it, let’s just fight.”
MMAWeekly: Even though you lost the fight, your performance more than assures that promotions will want to bring you onto their shows because of how exciting you can be. What do you think about that?
Julie Kedzie: Good, that’s my goal. Of course that’s my goal, I’m a fighter and I want to bring attention to what I bring to fighting. Along with that I want to represent the people that have helped me along as well. I hope that even if I didn’t show it with technique, I showed it with heart. So if I put on a show that brings credit back to my team, family and managers, then hey, I did my job.
I had a lot of little girls come to me afterwards and ask me for my autograph and talk to me, and that’s great because I don’t want to be famous, but damn, I do want to represent. I want to be a role model for these girls and I think I did that job.
MMAWeekly: Getting down to business, what’s next for you career-wise?
Julie Kedzie: I am contractually obligated to Bodog to fight in April [14th]. So I’ll be returning to Russia in April to fight. After that, if they put me on the May card to fight for EliteXC, awesome, but they haven’t said anything to me about that. But I am still working with Bodog as far as I know. Those are the two shows I’ll be primarily working with, but if Hook N Shoot wants me, I’ll still work with them too.
But if someone offers me two million dollars to fight in the UFC, Dana [White], then okay, we’ll see how that works. [Laughs] I don’t think I’ll ever fight about 135 ever again. If I do, it will have to be for a lot of money. I think even 140 may be too heavy for me.
MMAWeekly: Considering women’s MMA is still a very select group of individuals, there are possibilities for rematches for you. One in particular that could be interesting is a rematch of a San Shou rules fight you had against Elaina Maxwell. Would you like to fight her again, this time in MMA?
Julie Kedzie: Elaina Maxwell, yeah if she was in the same weight class as I am, I would love to rematch her [in MMA rules]. I’m not sure if she could come down to 135, but she’s a great fighter and she can come down to the weight class I’m most comfortable at, then sure. I think I have a little bit of an advantage in MMA, so sure.
MMAWeekly: You mentioned Bodog earlier; they recently took female fighters down to Costa Rica for the taping of their reality series. Two of those fighters in particular could be interesting fights for you – a rematch with Tara LaRosa, or a fight with UK Champion Rosi Sexton. What are your thoughts on those possibilities?
Julie Kedzie: Somebody asked me about a rematch with Tara, but I haven’t gotten any offers for that, but sure that’s something I’d take in the future. Rosi, yeah, I’ve talked to her before, she’s an awesome fighter and if the opportunity came to fight her, I’d love to fight her. I’m not calling people out, that’s not what I do, but if the opportunity to come to fight either one of them, I’ll do it.
I’m not going to call anybody out right now, because I need to reassess where I’m at with my training, because there’s some flaws in my game that I really need to work on. Whether it’s being too nice, or what, I definitely need to address some things before I start hunting people down.
MMAWeekly: Thanks for your time Jules, it’s greatly appreciated. Is there anything you’d like to say as we head out?
Julie Kedzie: Definitely many thanks to: 1001 Submissions – my primary sponsor for this fight, FighterGirls.com and Debi Purcell and Adam, FightWorld.com and Hook N Shoot – even though I wasn’t able to get their silkscreen on my clothes in time – I want to thank Jeff Osborn for his support, and definitely James Clingerman and Indiana Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – they’re amazing, they’re my team and family, so much respect for them.
To the fans, definitely look for me in the future; definitely look for me in big things. My Bodog fight in April [14th] against Julia Berezekova is coming up, so look for me on that – it should be a war – and this time I’m winning. And definitely I’ll be at the next EliteXC, I don’t know if I’ll be fighting, but I’ll definitely be there to watch.