Julie Kedzie Embraces Invicta FC Matchmaker Role

December 18, 2013

Julie Kedzie UFC 94December has been quite a month for former UFC women’s 135-pound fighter Julie “Fireball” Kedzie.

Following her loss to Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night 33, Kedzie retired from MMA. And just over a week later, Kedzie was named the new matchmaker of all-female fight promotion Invicta FC.

Speaking to MMAWeekly.com from Greg Jackson’s gym in Albuquerque, N.M., Kedzie discussed her decision to retire, her new position with Invicta, and the possibilities she could return to the sport as an active competitor sometime in the future.

MMAWeekly.com: Firstly, Julie was the decision to retire something that was a long time coming or more of a spur of the moment decision?

Julie Kedzie: It was a little of both. The words kind of just left my mouth before the fight. I was like, “Greg (Jackson), I want this to be the last one,” and he supported me. It felt like the right thing to do. Even after the fight – granted it hasn’t been too many days – but it feels like the right choice to me.

Win or lose (to Correia) I was going to be done. People say that I quit just because I lost, but in the past when I lost I wanted to get right back on the horse and kill it, but I had no desire to do that or get back in the cage. I was done.

MMAWeekly.com: Was the decision made more mentally or physically?

Julie Kedzie: Again, a little of both. Physically I’m not what I used to be. I’m still very strong and can compete with people, but it’s breaking down a little bit. I’ve gotten a lot of damage, not so much in fights, but in training. I’ve had a crick in my neck for the last eight weeks, my knees are starting to go a little bit, my shoulder, while being healed enough to compete with, it was never 100-percent back to being a normal, healthy shoulder.

Mentally and emotionally, as a fighter, I was recognizing it was time to be done. I felt a lot of happiness in my decision and I still feel really happy about it. I feel really positive and that’s a good place to be.

MMAWeekly.com: It surprised a lot of people when just a few days after you retired you became Invicta’s new matchmaker. Was that something that had been in the works or did it just come together after you retired?

Julie Kedzie: That role in the company was never discussed beforehand. I knew the position was open, but I didn’t stop to think about it until the dust settled from my retirement and I had returned home and realized I needed a job. I have a job at the gym, but I need more. I wanted something I could contribute to and want to have an active role in the sport the rest of my life.

Commentary is something I never want to give up, but talking to my manager, he brought it up and I thought it would be incredible. He talked to Shannon (Knapp, Invicta VP), and Shannon called me and said I was ready for it and right for the role.

MMAWeekly.com: What do you think you bring to the role of matchmaker?

Julie Kedzie: I know the hopes and dreams (the fighters are) carrying with them and I want to honor them. I don’t want anybody to think I’m taking this lightly. I’m going to read every request for a fight and going to do my best to place people in the right positions.

I can’t make any promises about anybody and I recognize that right away, but I want to encourage them and play a role in helping these fighters achieve their dreams because so many people did that for me.

MMAWeekly.com: Did you give the UFC matchmakers a call and ask how they do it?

Julie Kedzie: The first thing I did after I got off the phone with Shannon was to talk to (UFC co-matchmaker) Sean Shelby and wanted his blessing on this and that I was looking up to him and Joe (Silva, UFC co-matchmaker) and that they set the template that I want to follow.

Joe actually got ahold of me by email after I retired and after I got the position and we’ve emailed back and forth a little bit about it. I look up to them and will try to follow the ways they’ve done things because they’re the best in the business.

MMAWeekly.com: Thanks for taking time out for us, Julie. Before we go, is there any chance you’d return to MMA as a fighter or do you feel you’re retired for good?

Julie Kedzie: I feel like that’s it, I’m done, see you, but you never want to predict your entire future. Like I said before, if Dana White calls offering me to fill in and fight Ronda Rousey or Miesha Tate for a title shot and $500,000, I’d be all for it.

I do love fighting and I love being a part of it and intend to stay active in the gym, but right now I just don’t see myself as a fighter anymore. I feel done, but I cannot predict my entire future in one day.

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