September 29, 2007

by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Women’s mixed martial arts has started to gain respect and notoriety all over the world. One of its top stars, Julie Kedzie, is set to return to the ring on Saturday night when she fights Jan Finney in Jeff Osborne’s Hook n Shoot promotion in Indiana.

Kedzie is often remembered by fans as the woman that was one half of the match-up, along with Gina Carano, that pulled off the Fight of the Night at the first ever EliteXC show some months ago.

She has recently moved camps and started training full time in Albuquerque, New Mexico with Greg Jackson and his stable of fighters.

“The strength that it’s given me in terms of confidence,” remarked Kedzie about what her new trainer has meant to her. “Obviously, he has the best technique in the world and the best fighters in the world. It’s taken me from ‘yeah, I’m a pretty good “B” level fighter’ to knowing that I train with the best in the world and it brings me up there. He tells me every day that I belong there and I deserve to be with the best in the world and it kind of gives me the mentality that I can be more of an ‘A’ level fighter.”

With the sport growing and expanding all over the world, promotions like Hook n Shoot, and more recently Bodog Fight, have started focusing more on female fighters. Kedzie believes much of the credit for that success belongs to one man.

“I think the reason that Bodog is so big in the women’s scene is Jeff Osborne, the Hook n Shoot promoter, is actually on the staff for Bodog, so he’s able to pick through and he knows the female fighters a little bit better,” Kedzie stated.

Having promoted women’s fighting for many years, Osborne seems to have his finger on the pulse of an ever-growing promotion in MMA. He’s also done great things for Kedzie’s career as well.

“Jeff Osborne has done nothing but good things for me and my career,” Kedzie said. “Introduced me to the right people, Bodog, and everything like that. He’s really gone to bat for me.”

The bout for this weekend’s Hook n Shoot between Kedzie and Finney was expected to be a title fight, but according to Kedzie, her opponent did not make weight and it will be a standard fight instead with no title on the line.

While Kedzie’s focus remains on Finney, she is quick to point out who the top dog is in women’s MMA, a fighter she’s familiar with having fought her in the past.

“At the moment I think that (Tara) LaRosa is the number one female fighter in the world and of course you want to pit yourself against the best, but also I want to take that fight when I’m ready for that fight,” said Kedzie. “I would absolutely love a title fight against LaRosa, but I want to take that fight when Greg wants me to take that fight.”

With her fight coming up rapidly, Kedzie made a quick prediction about her bout with Jan Finney on Saturday night.

“I think you’re going to see Julie Kedzie as a Greg Jackson fighter. I think you’re going to see me win.”