CageToday.com Exclusive Interview With Tapout Sponsored Julie Kedzie

CageToday.com Exclusive Interview With Julie Kedzie

CageToday.com caught up with Julie Kedzie, recently signed AFL fighter and the first female MMA fighter to be sponsored by the clothing company Tapout.

Julie was featured last week on the current season of the reality show Tapout on Versus. She currently trains with Greg Jackson camp out in Albuquerque. In this interview she discusses the show, training with Team Jackson, and her future with the AFL.

CageToday.com: Can you tell me a little bit about your martial arts background and how you got started in MMA?

Julie Kedzie: I began training when I was about four years old in Tae Kwan Do and then my family moved to Indiana when I was about twelve. I joined a school called the Joe County Martial Arts, continued my Tae Kwan Do training, and there they offered cross training. By the time I was 18 I kind of discovered Muy Thai and combat submission wresting and Brazilian Ju jitsu. – and I fell in love with them (laughs).

Speaking of the Tapout show, how was your experience hanging out with the Tapout crew?

JK: I love those guys. They were awesome. You didn’t get to see half of the stuff that we went though (laughs), it was so funny. Theyre just a really, really great group of guys who are passonate about the sport and the fighters. It’s amazing to have them behind me.

You got a makeover before the fight in the show, how long has that been a pre-fight ritual for you?

JK: Well, it’s not always as intense, you know all the makeup and stuff like that, but I usually go get my nails done. I usually do somehting like that before a fight just because, you know, you all have your little vanities and stuff and (laughs) it is a nice relaxing gesture on my part.

So, will we ever see a blonde Julie Kedzie again or is it strickly brunette from now on?

JK: Actually, I’m blonde again. That show was filmed in April and its taken me so long and so much time to keep the black up that I finally just went back to blonde. So, Im blonde again.

On the show, you seemed very happy-go-lucky, but before the fight you transitioned, you were really focused. What are you thinking about just before a fight?

JK: Just before a fight I try to really quiet my mind down. You can see how anxious I get. And a lot of that anxiety is not so much “am I gonna get hurt,” it’s more of a pride thing you know (laughs) I don’t want to look like an idiot, I don’t want to let my team down — that kind of thing. To quiet my mind on all of that, I just do a lot of breathing and focusing on my fight plan. I think “okay, if she hits me with this, I’m going to come back with this or I’m gonna enter with this,” and that just kind of calms me down because that’s what we work on everyday before a fight.

You fought Gina Carano in the first live MMA bout on cable TV, now your the fist female MMA fighter to be sponsored by Tapout. Do you feel that these accomplishments make you a pioneer in Mixed Martial Arts?

JK: I’ve never considered myself in that role. That, you know, that’s a lot of responsibility (laughs) but you know, I’m really happy to open doors for other female fighters. I guess if people want to consider me a pioneer, that’s great. I’ve had my pioneers that I’ve looked up to like Debbie Purcell and Tara Larosa. These people who are still active fighters, but it really paved the way for me. So I guess if people looked at me as a source for opening doors then — yeah — that’s great. (laughs)

We got to see a little bit of Greg Jackson in his gym. How did you start training with the Jackson camp?

JK: I actually joined the Jackson camp right after my fight with Carano. I think he said on the show, he didn’t before care that much about female MMA, cause he has this stable pool of male fighters that he’s concentrating on. He saw that fight and he started scouting me from it, and he called me up and asked me to join the team. And I am a total idiot because I had no idea who he was. (laughs) He’s just this friendly guy I met at the Elite XC show. I was like “oh yeah, my corner can’t come to my Russia fight so can you come corner me on this” and he’s like “okay, do you want to come train here with me first?” (laughs), so I went to New Mexico and I was like “oh, there’s Diego Sanchez – oh, there’s Kieth Jardine — holy crap, this is the guy who trains these guys- whoa” (laughs). You know, he was a really friendly nice guy and I didn’t know he was this huge famous person. After I fought in Russia, we went to Las Vegas for one of the fights and he gets mobbed and I’m like “oh, he’s a celebrity, I didn’t know that.” So, yeah, I’m kind of dumb.

What’s one of the hardest things he puts you through when you’re preparing for a fight?

JK: I guess a lot of our mental training, like you saw us running on copper hill and stuff like that. We also do like, we run up sand dunes, so I think that a lot of it, the hard parts are the mental parts. That’s where his fighters really excel, I think is the mental toughness. He makes it a whole process. You have to grow with him physically, but you also have to grow mentally and emotionally as a person. So I would say a lot of the tests that he puts us through is the hard part.

You mentioned before that Greg went with you to Russia in your corner, you’ve had two fights in Russia now. What’s the difference between fighting there compared to the U.S.?

JK: Well, the organization I was fighting for was Bodog, and unfortunately Bodog is over, but the first time I fought in Russia against Amanda Buckner, I wasn’t training with Greg Jackson. Obviously my game shows it. In fact, I just, I don’t know that my technique was so much bad, as metally I was kind of like ‘oh I’m getting choked’ so I’m done. You know, my mental thing wasn’t there. But the fight, it was basically I think it was Shoto rules so fighting in Russia was no real difference, I would say that the first fight, it was a closed circuit fight, and it was part of a two week filming process, so there weren’t that many people there except other fighters watching. But the second time I went to Russia, when Greg was with me, Fedor and Aleksander Emilanenko were on the card, so it was a huge stadium filled with people, so it was more like a Pay-per-view type of deal. But the rules were the same.

Did you get a chance to meet Fedor or Aleksander?

JK: I did, I was in the same dressing room as Aleksander, but he was focused on the fight so I didn’t really talk to him. But we actually, after the fight, went to the Presidential Palace and had this high tea with Vladimir Putin It was crazy. Fedor was there and I got my picture taken with him. We didn’t really talk very much but he smiled at me, which was really nice of him because I had just beaten his teammate, which you know, if someone had just beaten my teammate I’d be like ‘hey, I’m really not happy with you.’ But he was real friendly, you know.

You recently made a deal with American Fight League, what kind of a contract did you sign with them?

JK: I signed a three fight contract with them, with an option for a fourth fight. So, I’m not really at liberty to disclose all the details of it, but it’s a good contract and they look like a great fight league. If only for the female talent that their recruiting. They’re getting the best 135ers in the world. No, I’m really happy about that, I’ll be fighting some really tough girls.

They definitely have great talent. Also signed is Tara Larosa. Now that you’re more experienced are you looking forward to a possible rematch with her?

JK: Oh yeah, I want to rematch everyone who’s beaten me. (laughs) But you know, I want to take that fight when I’m ready for it, when Greg says, “hey, now is the time to fight her” then I’ll fight her. The nice thing about Tara is, she’ll fight anybody, and she’ll still be nice to them. I have a really good relationship with her, so I imagine we’ll fight and drink beer afterwards (laughs). But I don’t know when.

So what’s next for you? Do you have a fight scheduled? Anything coming up?

JK: No, at the moment, AFL hasn’t given me any dates or any opponents. So I’m basically training hard and helping out my female teammates. Michelle Waterson just signed with Elite XC and I think she’ll be fighting soon, so I’m looking forward to that.

Julie, that you very much for the interview. Are there any people or sponsors that you would like to mention?

JK: Oh, well of course Tapout, and everybody at Greg Jackson’s gym, you know Greg and his wife and his kids, they feel like my family. They’re wonderful. So thank you to them.

Comments

  1. I have to admit that after watching her fight Carano I had a totally different opinion about women in MMA. That fight was awesome.

  2. nice interview cage

  3. Yes, that Carano fight was the best of the night. Cyborg's wife -vs- Carano is going to be a great fight. I think with Jackson's camp in her corner Julie can definitely hone her skills and be very competitive. These women are tough and it will be good to see them be refered to as MMA fighters and not women's MMA….they leave everything in the ring and you have to respect that everytime. As the old saying goes "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, It's the size of fight in the dog"!

  4. She has fought some of the best out there already. I'd like to see her rematch Carano. I bet it would be a totally different fight now.

  5. she is definitely an interesting person. i wonder if she is going to be on the AFL pay per view in november.

  6. Julie has been is some of the best battles in woman's mma. check out her fights with Gina Carano and her destruction of the Russian red devils Julia Berezekova. Seriously on youtube.com.

  7. cant wait to see her rematch larosa in the AFL

  8. She looked like a hard hitter on the show. She had a good sub win over her opponent. Make it happen AFL, Kedzie and Larossa.

  9. buckner thrashed her… hell, buckner thrashes a lot of guys up in portland… id like to see that rematch. i still dont think she is at her level though… amanda has beaten a lot of the best!

  10. Women in MMA is a joke I aint paying to see 2 women fight. I want to seethe toughest people in the world fight.No wmen could beat an average guy who knows how to fight. I already know that people r gonna say these women are tough well if they r so tough lets see them fight men. Exactly it aint gonna happen b/c the guy would kill the women. Its like womens basketball they just dont belong in the sport let them stick to soccer and cooking. Now I know this may be a little offensive to women but its true.

  11. Steve's probably been choked out by a woman so go ahead and vent. I've been in enough gyms to be impressed by the talent of some women. I've seen Kedzie fight twice and she has a ton of heart. She earned that fight of the night with Carano, it wasn't PR. But I'm sure Steve knows more about MMA than a legend like Greg Jackson who not only offered to train Kedzie but gave her a place to stay in Albuquerque.

  12. I'm not even trying to be nice. I saw the show and she transitioned from armbar to triangle and then back to armbar. It was nice to see her put her opponent in a BJJ web.

  13. Realwun u say i have prolly been choked out by a women? Nope and if u would rather see 2 girls fight then 2 guys that know how to fight then u are either real horny and into ugly dike like chicks or u have no clue what talent is. No women on this earth could beat up any top male fighter. Point made.

  14. anyone else agree with me or do all u guys want to see ugly chicks fight? Oh yeah sure there is one girl who fights that looks decent in Gina but even she is only a 7.

  15. I must dig ugly chicks then. I disagree with you Steve. I think Julie is pretty cute and I think she is a pretty decent fighter. I don't think she is at Gina's level quite yet, but she will be with Jackson's camp behind her. There are plenty of females that are serious ass whippers ie; Gina Carano in Muay Thai, Christy Martin in Western boxing and my wife in wielding a frying pan.

  16. Wow this just solidifies how people are trying to make women equal. Ok well if they are allowed to fight MMA then start drafting the women. Oh wait women are meant fo battle thats right but they can cage fight okay?!!

  17. Dont get me wrong I love women but I like women who dont sweat get pimples all over them and think there tough. Of course Greg Jackson is gonna back up Kendzie. It is the politically correct thing to do. Anyone agree with me in saying women dont belong in a mans sport?

  18. Steve, sounds like you weren't hugged enough when you were little. some of the most entertaining fights i have seen were in women s mma. its a shame that the only orgs willing to put them on are AFL and Elite.

  19. Alright Steve, I think I disagree. I think women can fight, but not against men due to biological differences. Fighting eachother is fine, but fighting other men is like dog fights with pitbulls against chiuauas. Men naturally have more muscle mass, and more density to that muscle mass. I do see your point though, don't get me wrong, but I haven't even seen female MMA. If I did though, I wouldn't even look at it in a sexual way, otherwise you can say everyone watches it for that reason, including male MMA, and we are all gay. That's why I don't think of it sexually at all. I'm gonna Youtube it right now.

  20. I just see it as another MMA competition. Even if I think the girl is hot, it all goes out the door when they enter the cage.

  21. Why watch college or high school football? They aren't as good as NFL teams. Why not just watch the best? You see people like diversity and women bring a different aspect to MMA. I like local MMA shows even though those fighters won't beat the top male fighters either.

    Jackson doesn't give handouts. He has way too many fighters knocking at his door and asking for him in their corner.

  22. Nichole Lesniak says:

    stever – last I checked, men don't get drafted now either. Women are in the military, and they do fight out there. Who cares if these women sweat – no one's asking you to date them! Pretty much ALL sports started out as "men's sports" – should we stop women from playing them too?

    Rayburn & Ryan – unfortunately, you guys are the minority as far as not sexualizing girl fights. When I was at Elite XC for the Carano fight, some of the things the guys in the audience were yelling were absolutely disgusting. Things they wouldn't have said in front of their mothers. They were truly pigs.

  23. Nichole Lesniak says:

    Oh steve…by your standards, maybe I should stop writing for CageToday. Sports writing is a man's job, isn't it?

  24. Ouch! No, I think you have the sports writing thing down pretty good! No offense Steve, but there is a prime example; Nichole just handed you your ass via keyboard!

    One of the worst ass whippings that I ever took, granted it was competitive Tae Kwon Do, was from a girl opponent that was 6' tall, maybe 125lbs and was faster than a greased spider monkey on crack! Just because a girl hasn't whipped your ass in a bar fight, doesn't mean there is not one out there that can't!

  25. Whether u stop riting for cagetoday or not nobody will notice so it really doesnt matter. Women werent made to fight. Thats why a man cant hit a women. The women cant take it. Now explain that if women are allowed to fight and are good at it then why does a man get in trouble for hitting a women?Exactly b/c its fucking wrong b/c women arent fighters. Nichole please stop saying u write for cagetoday we get it and nobody cares.

  26. Mike ask urself what kinda bitch gets thrown around by a 125lb woman? A fucking pussy thats who.

  27. How much throwing is done in Tae kwon do?

  28. Nichole Lesniak says:

    Actually, steve, it's called WRITING. There's a W in that word.

    Men not hitting women is a matter of respect, not capability. I'd be willing to bet I can take a punch better than you can. Any "man" (and I use that word loosely) who runs his mouth the way you do (especially about women) is usually trying to compensate for a lack of something. And you probably think so little of women because you were rejected by one.

    I only mentioned writing here once, no one cares? Then why are you commenting in a thread under MY article?

  29. Nichole Lesniak says:

    Correction – This article isn't mine, but you have posted – many times- under MY articles.

  30. just another mma dud says:
  31. Dude, I don't care who you are, that is some funny shit

  32. Some guys don't like female MMA and if you don't like it you don't have to watch. I don't think you can win an arguement about women in MMA if you're sexist though.

  33. I am not sexist I was just raised in a traditional manner. I believe that women have no business in mma. Nichole I would love to see you take a punch from a man just to wake up and ask u if u were alright. Sorry I mispelled Writing didnt no I was back in 12th grade Grammar class. And please tstop saying stupid coments about how its a matter of respect. Thats such bullshit. A woman punches a man in the face and he cant hit her back b/c he would hurt her not b/c he respects her. LMAO but thats a good one. Like I said I love women but you are obviously very ignorant. I am compensating? How the fuck would you know that nice personal insult lol and also explain to me if women can take a punch just as good as any man why if they weigh the same weight that they dont fight in the Cage against eachother?? Like I said if u would rather see 2 women fight hey go for it but your not going to see any womens MMA fight that matters. I will watch womens MMA when all the men are as bad as Elvis Sinosic. Women just flat out arent made to fight. There structure of there bodies are smalled then mens and cant take as much punishment. Sorry just facts. I hope you can see what im saying but then again u will prolly just side step certain questions and also about the posting under your articles. I dont even read these articles. All u guys post are facts and interviews. I have only seen u actually give ur thoughts on 1 article and that was with Tim Sylvia and Fedor fighting. I think u were crtisized for being bias if I remember correctly.

  34. oops I say smalled dont want to get a slap on the wrist for spelling it wrong i meant smaller* Soo Sorry Nichole. ANd thats funny how u had to double check if u wrote this or not.

  35. Where are u Nichole u dont think this article is important?
    http://mmajunkie.com/news/5282/affliction-and-gol
    Pretty big deal if u care about Affliction. Write an article on that.

  36. i want money from you steve because i'm 100 percent positive i'm stupider for reading you comments. i cant tell if your dumb or just not smart.

  37. Bwaaahhhhhh!!!! 12th grade my ass! Retard, if "smalled" is the only mistake you found in your illiterate, sexist, inbred rambling then you have bigger problems than we thought. You are a prime example of "little big man's" syndrome. What's the matter sport, Mommy wanted a girl and made you wear dresses when you were little?

    Easy to talk shit like a big man when your in cyber space! The girl that rocked me in competition was at the age of 10 and she rocked my block because she was talented at the art, kind of opposite of your relationship with spelling!

    People rag your spelling because it's a sign of a lack of education, they rag on you in general because you have a view of women that is pretty common among those with certain "male" inadequacies.

    In reagrd to myself being a "pussy"….hehehe….words mean nothing, I'm a show me kinda guy. I have boxed since the age of six, hold black belts in both Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido, taught hand to hand combat as part of IMEF in the Marine Corp for 2-1/2 years, coach competitive wrestling and I am very well versed in Fillipino loose hand as well as American Crosada. Anytime sport….anytime!

  38. Ther StEve….I hVae mispel sum word in ma last twoo postses….lets cee if yuo can finded em. Bye By now1

  39. Better yet, I think we would all love to see Steve -vs- Julie Kedzie @ Greg Jackson's training center with the Tapout boys in attendance and Nichole as the ref.

    Maybe while your fighting for both your life and your dignity, you can show us some of those Tae Kwon Do "throws".

  40. In your own words Steve, "Their bodies can't take as much punishment," well their bodies can't give as much damage either. So basically, the bar is lowered all around. When you look at it that way, they will last just as long as men with eachother.

  41. Hey Ryan, isn't the biggest complaint that men don't last long enough for most women? LOL Sorry, I couldn't resist. I thought it might lighten the mood a bit so we could get back to talking about Julie and the other up and coming MMA stand outs.

  42. Nichole Lesniak says:

    Steve. There is no doubt in my mind that you are sexist. My husband was raised in a traditional household too, and he would NEVER say anything like what you said. What makes you think I haven't taken a punch from a man? Been punched by men and women – never been knocked out. Can you say the same? Men who beat their wives – you think they do it just because they're bigger? No. They do it because they don't respect women.

    And sorry for bringing up your writing, but the fact that you can't write says a lot about you. You want to be taken seriously? Write like you have half a brain.

    What would I side step? Everything you're spewing is BS. If you don't read any of the articles, why are you on an MMA site? All we post are facts and interviews? Isn't that what MMA sites are supposed to do? I've posted several previews and one opinion piece. I posted 2 things about Sylvia and Fedor – and why wouldn't I be biased in my article about them? IT WAS AN OPINION ARTICLE.

    Btw – I had to double check because I thought the thread was under my War Machine article. Oh, and I'm not the only writer on the site!

    Mike – "little big man's syndrome" is EXACTLY what I was thinking!!! And I'm totally down for reffing!! I'll start practicing my "tap, what tap" face!

    Ryan – I dunno about the "their (our) bodies can't take much punishment" idea either. Do you know what happens when a women gives birth? I'll take a punch ANY day!

  43. …so julie kedzie seems to be able to hold herself in the cage pretty well, it looks like in her Carano fight, Carano overpowered the crap out of her and her standup was a little better. I think if she had more time on the ground, she could have pulled out the win

  44. Yes, I agree that Julie is not at the same level as Carano with the stand up. She will definitely improve her stand up game in the Jackson stable. Carano is a strong fighter with great hands and knees. She dominated Julie in that fight. Julie is evolving as a fighter and I think once the boxing and muay thai skills blossom, she will be a stronger contender and much better re-match for Carano.

    Right now Carano is essentially the female equivalent of Urijah Faber in that she is always pulling off new tactics ie; her recent win by submission victory and she is a dominant force in the cage with no slowing down in site.

  45. Wow so now im a sexist? Just b/c women arent fighters and I think they have no business in the sport? Why do u think its not in the UFC? Because not only do most women not like to fight but they arent good at it. Mike just b/c u got ur ass kicked by a girl dont mean I will. Julie is a joke just like womens mma. Nichole u are a horrible writer as u call yourself. What exactly do you write? Like you said all mma sites do is rovide u with interviews and facts. So what r u actually writing? Dont get mad at me because women cant fight and its a joke that they are trying to get into MMA. You keep like I said Side Stepping why men arent allowed to hit women. We know because women cant fight like men. They are weaker and smaller. But im done arguing obviously im no the only one that doesnt want to see 2 girls who pose no threat to about anyone fight in a ring. Also if u are soo damn tough why dont u try and do womens MMA. Hell win 2 fights and u would probally be in the top 10 seeing as how there is much talent in girls mma b/c its a joke.

  46. just another mma dud says:

    Yes, in point of fact, you are a sexist because of your views on women. That's how it works; you make uneducated and insutling comments about women that stereotype and you're a sexist. The UFC doesn't have womens MMA because there is no money in it yet…it happens, it just doesn't make money yet. There is no money in it yet because the sport for women just started to take hold. Steve, for all of us men, stop speaking so much. I won't get personal about it or anything. Just please stop and think it through before you type.

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