Julie Kedzie, commentator for Invicta FC and such an exciting fighter herself, took some time (5:00am that is..) to shoot some answers back at me about the upcoming Invicta FC event this weekend, her involvement as commentator, her fight with Miesha Tate, and whatever is next for her and women’s MMA.
EW: wow! So much has changed since we were roomies in CA! Talk about your growth as a fighter and a person through this women’s MMA journey. What keeps you going? What some of your goals may be? etc.
JK: It’s funny–that summer was, what, eight years ago…?, but I’m reminded of it time and again when I’m asked how I “got my start”. The truth is, it’s been a craaazy journey since we were training in California. I’ve had tremendous opportunities, disappointments, and successes and really grown as both a fighter and a person. At this point, with a successful and happy niche on an amazing team, a great commentary position with Invicta and a Strikeforce contract, it’s a good time to reflect and be grateful about my career.
After 27 professional bouts, I sometimes think people should look at me as an example of “what not to do” as a fighter (i.e taking last minute fights, believing everything I’m told by reality tv producers, managers and shady promoters, in addition to fighting EVERYONE without a thought of my record)…but I really wouldn’t trade a thing! What keeps me going, and what has always kept me going, is this insane relentless belief that female fighters are going to succeed. I’m serious; despite all the naysayers and haters, we continue to thrive and exceed the limitations/expectations that are placed on us. My goal? I want to keep this belief up! I want to keep working as a fighter and supporter of the female fight community until the doubts of the mainstream public are made obsolete!
EW: With Invicta 3 this weekend, are you excited? I love hearing you commentate btw! How did this opportunity come about for you? How was the transition from fighter to commentator?? I think it’d be somewhat of a tough job, like an improv comedian or something 🙂
JK: Thank you! I love doing commentary and I hope to be a member of the Invicta crew for as long as they are around!
I was totally daunted before the first show and to be honest, even by this third show, I have the jitters. I am extremely grateful to Shannon Knapp for giving me this opportunity, because it’s always been one of my goals to be an active voice in the female fight community and I don’t do well on social media and forums (I can’t type fast enough to keep up with arguments, haha). I believe that transitioning from fighter to commentator is bit of a challenge, because what fighter hasn’t watched a fight and thought, “man, i wish I was in there!”?
But I am very lucky–there is a steady flow of media at the gym I work at and I have gotten the opportunity to see how good interviews and speeches are prepared and delivered and how to use one’s voice. Plus, I have been in the sport for kind of a while and have had the chance to either train or scrap with MANY of the fighters. It gives me a nice insight!
EW: What fights are you excited for on this card?
JK: honestly think this card is going to be action packed from start to finish! I’m really excited for the main event–Penne v Sugiyama is a pretty sick match-up. And the rematch between Young and Smith is guaranteed to be fireworks, as well as Waterson and Schuckman. Also, seeing vets like LaRosa and Baszler is always a pleasure.
EW: Invicta FC and Strikeforce seem to have taken over women’s MMA, very exciting! What do you think is ahead for women’s MMA? What are some fights you’d like to see? Who would you like to match up with?
JK: The sky’s the limit for women’s MMA…I think there is SO MUCH in store for us, thanks to both the hard workers and superstars of the sport that have changed the opinions of so many doubters. I think the continued relationship between Strikeforce and Invicta will set the example for other promotions to book female fighters, as they almost always bring a new level of excitement to a fight card.
Future match-ups? I’d love to see a bout between Tate and Zingano; Rousey and Cyborg; Honchak and LaRosa.
For myself, I sort of want to fight everybody. I’d love a rematch with Tate (that was a fun fight!), maybe a shot at Cyborg (if she drops to 135 or meets at a catchweight) and then maybe a drop to 125 to test out that talent pool!
EW: You had a great fight against Miesha Tate, I think I saw even a tweet come thru from Dana White on how impressed he was with you… How do you feel with that fight, your growth as a fighter, what’s next!?
JK: I feel like the real Julie Kedzie emerged in that fight–the one my coaches and teammates have believed in for so long, and I’m going continue to make that happen in the future fights. In 2011, I fought some of the worst, most boring fights of my career, and it took lot of coaching, self-examination and mental training to get myself to believe what I’m capable of. In the fight with Tate, I found a moment where I felt nothing but the pure happiness of opening up and letting myself perform. Now that I’ve proved to myself that I’m capable of it, it’s time for me to take the reigns and make it happen with a victory haha!
Thanks, Julie! You are truly an amazing person!