EXCLUSIVE (Part 1) | Julie Kedzie Talks Gina Carano, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate
Famous for fighting Gina Carano in the first televised women’s MMA bout on EliteXC, Julie Kedzie is one of the most experienced fighters to join the UFC’s women’s bantamweight division. As she is preparing for her second UFC fight, which takes place Dec. 6, Kedzie spoke to BJPenn.com about the top stars of women’s MMA.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
Julie Kedzie spoke with BJPenn.com recently about her career as a female mixed martial artists; and it wasn’t long before the conversation turned to the sports biggest stars.
Of course, the two fighters owning the headlines right now are UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, and top contender, Miesha Tate. The two are currently competing coaches on the UFC’s reality-television show, ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ and they are set to rematch one another for Rousey’s belt at UFC 168 at the end of the year.
For Kedzie, having met both and fought against Tate, she sees their rivalry as totally genuine and completely specific to Rousey and Tate.
“I was around them one time,” Kedzie said, “this was before Ronda was Strikeforce champion. Miesha had the belt, it was ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ finale when my teammates John Dodson and Diego Brandao won. They’re both, individually, just lovely people, just really nice girls – not to say that I wouldn’t want to fight and beat both of them, because I would… But both of them were just very nice people. They interacted with each other politely, they didn’t cross any boundaries or anything like that; but I could tell there was tension there. This is about the time that Ronda was campaigning for the 135-lb. title. I don’t know how to explain it, but she definitely does have a presence about her. She’s got a real charisma. If you’ve interacted with her before, you can tell. She’s very, very driven, and I admired it, but I could see how Miesha and her just don’t see eye to eye.
“It [has] definitely exploded into an all out rivalry at this point. What they’re doing, it’s not my way of going about doing things, but… what they’re doing, they’re bringing a lot of attention to the sport, a lot of attention to their fight, and they’re selling it very, very well. Regardless of my approach or anybody else’s approach to it, what they’re doing is working for them very well. And it’s really, really caused this intense, interesting rivalry that everyone tunes into.”
Of course, that rivalry isn’t something either fighter stirs up with every one of their opponents. Both have gone on to fighter other several opponents, and the build up to those fights pale in comparison to their first bout in Strikeforce and their upcoming rematch. Kedzie explained this by referring to a good friend of hers, female fighting legend, Gina Carano.
“With Gina, there was a quality about her – I don’t know how to explain it – I said ‘charismatic’ a million times about Ronda, but it’s the same thing about Gina. There’s something about the way that she presented herself which was very approachable and personable, and also, like, she was a rockstar before she was even a movie star, you know what I mean, like as a fighter. So… I really can’t tell you how she would have handled [a fight] with Ronda, but I know she’s a very, very gracious person. I doubt she would have brought out the same approach and rivalry in Ronda that you’re seeing right now. This is all speculative: I have no idea. Ronda’s distaste for Miesha is real palpable: you can really, really feel it. I don’t know that she would have had the same approach with Gina, I think she would have – she may have attacked it in a different way, her competitiveness may have come out a different way.
“In the time I trained with [Carano], and the time I knew her, I never heard her bad-mouth another fighter, ever. That includes Cyborg, who won the title in [their] bout. But I never heard her speak ill of even Cyborg. So I just think [a Carano-Rousey fight] may have brought out different elements of the build-up.”
Hypothetical fights aside, Rousey does have a fight in front of her in Miesha Tate. The two fighters’ rivalry has already amplified as this season of TUF carries on, but with a little more than two months before their rematch at UFC 168, we can expect to see Rousey and Tate clash heads in the build-up to fight night.
As for Kedzie, she’s busy preparing for her next fight in the UFC, a three-round bout against UFC newcomer, Aleksandra Albu, at a UFC Fight Night event in Australia early December. Be sure to catch the second part of Kedzie’s interview to hear her talk about her preparation for that fight.