Julie Kedzie has announced her retirement, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be around.
Kedzie, who decided to hang up the gloves following a split decision loss to Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night 33 in Brisbane, Australia, announced on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that she has a new role in the mixed martial arts world.
"I’m very happy to announce that I’ve been in talks with Shannon Knapp and I’m going to be Invicta FC’s new matchmaker," Kedzie said. "So I’m going to be taking on the role as matchmaker of the company, going to work hoping to help developing the careers of other female fighters. Bring them up to the sports, get them the attention they deserve and hopefully promote the sport a little bit on the sidelines now and have a role where I can help people. Face to face, get them what they need."
"And I’m really excited about it. I’m terrified, but excited."
"Fireball" will continue to work as a commentator for Invicta FC events, and she believes that it will give the fans the opportunity to know more about the things that happen backstage.
"You’re going to have the commentator and the matchmaker right there telling you why it happened," she said. "So I think I’ll be able to give people more insights of the working of the business as audience members, and they will be able to see why people are matched the way they were."
The 32-year-old veteran has gone 16-13 as a mixed martial artist with victories over the likes of Sarah D'Alelio and Jan Finney, but is confident that her lack of experience as a matchmaker won’t be an issue.
"I think everybody is an amateur matchmaker," she said. "I’ll be honest with you, I think I got the tools to make a successful journey. I want these women to do well and the company to do well, and I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to help get us there. I’m excited to start investigating."
"First thing I did when I got off the phone with Shannon yesterday was text Sean Shelby and ask for his blessing, and he was very happy and enthusiastic and kind to me," she said. "And I just had an e-mail exchange with Joe Silva, who was also very encouraging and very kind.
"The UFC’s relationship with Invicta is really good and I would hope it stays that way. Those two guys, Joe Silva and Sean Shelby, are two of my favorite people in the universe. They are so fascinating to talk to. So I hope our friendship continues and even get stronger when I go there for advice or they come to me with things."
Kedzie had no information on future events yet, but revealed the dream fight she would love to match.
"There’s one fight, and it’s actually a rematch," she said. "I was on the Invicta website to see who’s assigned, and Tara LaRosa has fought her last couple fights at 135 but I don’t know what her plans are, I need to sit down and talk to her, but I remember her fight with Amanda Buckner, and I saw Amanda Buckner is signed with Invicta. I remember that fight in Bodog as one of the best female fights I’ve ever seen in my life. That was epic fight between two warriors, and if there’s a chance of making that fight again, I’ll be pretty excited about it."
As of her decision to retire from the sport as a fighter, she said her coach Greg Jackson was very supportive moments before entering the cage for the last time.
"I spoke with Greg Jackson when I was warming up backstage and it was one of those things," Kedzie said. "I said ‘I think this is it, coach. This is my last one.’ I thought he would say ‘you’re making excuses, you’re doing great. Go out there.’ He was really receptive. He said ‘if you really feel that way, let’s do it. Let’s blaze this fight, let’s go out in glory.’ And I felt so happy with his support.
"I knew it was the right choice," she continued. "And even when they called her name, walking out of there, I knew it was the right choice because I didn’t have any ‘oh, I’m gonna get revenge and get this one back.’ I didn’t have any of those thoughts. I was like ‘meh, they’re wrong,’ and that was it. That’s a clear indicated that maybe my passion has changed.
"It’s time to move on, try new projects. I did feel I won the fight, but two of the judges didn’t so that’s how it goes."