After years of tough battling and an intense struggle for acceptance, the female warriors of mixed martial arts will finally be able to showcase their skills inside the UFC’s famed Octagon. UFC President Dana White officially announced the addition of the women’s 135 lbs division into the UFC with Ronda Rousey as the champion.
Whether you love her or hate her, you have to appreciate what Rousey has done for WMMA in such a short period of time. White wasn’t giving female fighters the time of day until Rousey caught his attention with her unique blend of Olympic Judo, ruthless finishing ability and super model good looks. White became instantly intrigued with her and saw a ton of potential to promote Rousey and other females in his organization.
However, Rousey isn’t the only great female fighter in MMA. There are several and White is beginning to understand this. On the undercard of Rousey’s last title defense with Strikeforce, former champion Miesha Tate went to war with an incredibly tough veteran by the name of Julie Kedzie. It was a back and forth battle which Tate ultimately won via an armbar in the third round.
White watched the entire fight and showed just as much excitement as he typically does during a “Fight of the Night” on a UFC card. Even though she’s coming off back to back losses, Kedzie is exactly the type of fighter that the UFC should be looking to sign if they want to establish a stacked 135-lbs division.
We recently spoke with Kedzie on BJPenn.com Radio and while she hasn’t head anything yet, she is sure she will get her chance in the UFC even if it means racking up some more wins to get there.
“I haven’t heard anything [about signing with the UFC] yet. Nobody has said anything to me and my manager hasn’t told me if he’s heard anything but it’s ok,” Kedzie told BJPenn.com Radio.
“Where I’m at in my career, I’m definitely not ready to walk away from this but to see how far the women have come from when I first started it is just amazing that women are in the UFC now. If the UFC doesn’t sign me right away, I am going to work my ass off and get a contract but I think they’ll sign me. If they don’t I’m not going to stress about it because the women are there now so the potential is there. I’ll just find my way in.”
A longtime disciple of the world renowned Jackson-Winkeljohn camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kedzie has been competing in MMA since 2004 and has racked up wins and losses to the best of the best in WMMA.
Besides being a bad ass in the ring or cage, Kedzie also speaks about the sport very articulately and the world is starting to take note of her through her work with the Invicta Fighting Championships. Kedzie is a commentator for the all-female promotion and thinks while it is amazing that women are in the UFC now, they also need to be appreciative of Invicta.
“Even though we now have a weight division in the UFC, it’s important for female fighters to still have Invicta as the big show [of women’s MMA]. I’m a huge Invicta fan and supporter, I think it’s an amazing organization and I think it’s important for women to understand that there’s a place for almost all weight classes there,” Kedzie
“They don’t have to worry, for example let’s say they are a 125’er, to bulk up to 135 or for a 145’er to have to starve herself down [just to fight in the UFC]. They have to understand that there will be many weight classes [in Invicta] and they do have a platform to access the mainstream fans.”
Kedzie makes an excellent point in that Invicta is still doing more to give women of practically any weight a large stage to show the MMA community what they’ve got. CEO Shannon Knapp and matchmaker Janet Martin are trailblazing similarly to how White and the Fertittas were pushing for the UFC when they first bought the company in 2001.
“The UFC is like that brass ring that all of us fighters are reaching for. They are such a huge organization and does so many things for the sport of mixed martial arts but Invicta is in its own way doing the same thing. I think all female fighters should thank their lucky stars that Invicta is around,” Kedzie said.
“Fans can now point out a Carla Esparza or a Michelle Waterson as future champions in their respective divisions [where as before Invicta they couldn’t].”
As far as Rousey in the UFC is concerned, Kedzie is super excited to see her debut but doesn’t want to see Tate get another crack at her just yet. Only because she has some unfinished business with the former Strikeforce champion.
“No, I want that Miesha Tate rematch first [before she rematches Rousey]. I’m not even signed by the UFC though so it’s however the cards fall but I would really like a rematch with Tate,” Kedzie said.
“I’m not going to say that I don’t have my eye on UFC gold someday, I’m just trying not to get ahead of myself because I have to get a contract first and win before I start thinking that way.”
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