As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.Julie “Fireball” Kedzie is a female mixed martial artist fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a current record of 16-9-0. Kedzie has never been one to turn down a fight, which is apparent with a single glance at her resume where one can find such names as Gina Carano, Tara LaRosa and Jan Finney, among others.
Julie recently took time out of her busy schedule to sit down and answer a few questions for our MMAPlayground.com Interview Series. Read below to find out why she’d love to be matched up against Floyd Mayweather, how she got the name “Fireball” and more!
* * * * *MMAPG:
We appreciate you taking the time to chat with us, Julie. How’s the rehab coming?KEDZIE:
Much better, thank you! I have been taken very good care of and am able to (finally) jog again. I will hopefully be back in sparring and grappling fully in the next few weeks.MMAPG:
Can you give the fans some insight in to how it happened?KEDZIE:
Ha! The REAL answer is that I didn't show enough respect for my body and over-trained to the point of injury. Don't ever do that - train your ass off but take the time to recover! I'll try to explain these the way they were explained to me, although you have to bare with me because I get hit in the head for a living. The long of the short of it is that I originally suffered a patella subluxation (my kneecap popped out) in training and tried to push through it to the point of stupidity. My coach and manager subsequently cancelled the fight (and rightly so, although I whined a lot about it). I tried very hard to prove that I could come back from the injury too quickly and last week I suffered a fall in training that led to a shoulder AC injury and another subluxation, this time in my collarbone (which is one of the most painful injuries I have ever experienced). I am VERY fortunate that none of these injuries have required surgery and have been in extremely good hands during my recovery. Basically I've been told to do my exercises, rest, and I'm allowed to jog. MMAPG:
Germaine De Randamie is who you were booked to fight before you were injured. Is that a fight you’d still like once you’re healed?KEDZIE:
I'd love to fight Germaine, but really I'll fight whomever Strikeforce says. MMAPG:
Is fighting your full-time job or do you have a day job as well?KEDZIE:
My full-time job is actually that of Greg Jackson's personal assistant, but because that means being in the gym all day and concentrating on MMA, I would definitely say that fighting is my full-time job. (laughs) MMAPG:
How do you spend your days off? Do you have hobbies that occupy your time?KEDZIE:
I'm pretty boring. I love to read and hang out with friends and I watch way too much television. I go to the zoo a lot.MMAPG:
You were born in Chicago, a city that’s very rich in tradition when it comes to sports…are you a non-combat sports fan at all? If so, what teams do you support?KEDZIE:
I love sports a lot, although I'm not any sort of expert. For football, I was born in Chicago, so yeah, total Bears fan, but I was also raised in Indiana, so I cheer for the Colts and really like to watch basketball. I also get to see a few Isotopes games here in Albuquerque, so I'm gaining a lot of appreciation for baseball. Am I an expert fan of any of these teams or sports? Nope, but I'll tune in and get excited when they score. MMAPG:
Back to fighting…when you wake up the morning of a fight, can you give the fans some insight in to your pre-fight ritual? What does your routine consist of, if you have one?KEDZIE:
I don't like to sleep in my braids, so I usually eat breakfast and get my hair done first thing. I do a pre-fight shake-out after that to turn my engine on and then play the "hurry up and wait" game. MMAPG:
Win or lose, do you ever take time off after your fights or are you right back at it on Monday morning?KEDZIE:
That really depends on where I am fighting and how much damage I take, I guess. I have a weird-ass body/mind connection that dictates that I have to be physically active pretty much every day or I get depressed. I prefer to be right back in the gym and that is totally possible when I fight at home. After my last fight I spent some time in the Midwest with family. I got to try some power-lifting routines with my sister instead of fighting stuff which was kind of fun.MMAPG:
For the fans who don’t know, can you tell us where you spend most of your time training and who you spend that time training with?KEDZIE:
I train at Jackson/Winkeljohn's Mixed Martial Arts in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I always sound like a damn name-dropper when I do this, but I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of my teammates and coaches whenever I can! We are a camp deeply blessed with great talent and I generally train with Greg Jackson, Mike Winkeljohn, Mike Valle and also Izzy Martinez, Igor Araujo and Jon Chaimberg when they are in town. Some of the amazing fighters I train with include boxing champion Holly Holm; jiu-jitsu champion Kelley Weatherford; Michelle Waterson, Jodie Esquibel, Nohime Dennisson, Heather Clark, Emily Kagan, Kelley Warren and Gina Carano when she is in town. I love the women on our team, but we also train with the men. I sort of prefer sparring or grapplng with the ones that are 155 and under, including Jonny Dodson, Aaron Riley, Issac Valle-flagg, Matt Leyva, Damacio Page, etc. See? I sound like a name-dropping jerk!MMAPG:
What would you consider to be the driving force behind what you do? KEDZIE:
I'm a little crazy. (laughs) I'm sorry, I wish I had a better explanation than that. You know that Ali quote, "...Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision...”? There is a craziness in me; some voice in me that drives me to push myself to my limits daily and although I'm learning these days not to overdo it (I hope), I'm not putting that voice on mute until my goals are accomplished. MMAPG:
Your nickname is “Fireball”…what’s the story behind that?KEDZIE:
Ha! I'm addicted to those atomic fireball candies and I also have a temper that has come out a couple times inappropriately. One of the first times I was sparrring Coach Jackson, he footswept me and teased me when I dropped, which made me furious. Who the hell did this guy think he was? So I rolled up and punched him in the balls. He told me he liked my spirit and nicknamed me "Fireball”.MMAPG:
If you could play matchmaker for a day and match yourself up against anyone, regardless of gender, who would that fight be against and why would that be a fight you’d want to take?KEDZIE:
Oh, God! So many! We're talking all disciplines, right? (Manny) Pacquiao, (Floyd) Mayweather, Sugar Ray Robinson, Rickson (Gracie), Fedor (Emelianko), (Lucia) Rijker, Cyborg (Santos), Wanderlei (Silva), Marcelo Garcia, Dan Gable...etc. Name 'em and know I want them. Look, anyone can see my record and understand I've taken my lumps. At this point, I don't give a shit about the win/loss ratio after my name; the public can think whatever they want. I am a professional fighter that wants to be tested to my limit and if we are placing no constraints on my imagination here, I can freely say that I would face all those people and more. In my opinion, you can create a legacy by your choices; my choice is to make myself face my inner fears and doubts and climb in the cage or ring and forge greatness out of myself by trying to beat the best.MMAPG:
We’ve all heard the expression, “You learn something new every day.” Does that apply to life in the gym as a professional fighter?KEDZIE:
Yes. In reality not a day goes by in my gym that I am not surprised by something new. MMAPG:
What part of your game frustrates you the most and what are you doing to improve it?KEDZIE:
The worst part of my game is my confidence. I train with the best of the best, which means there is always someone in the room better than me in any discipline at any given time. The solution to that is pretty easy: to just keep showing up! MMAPG:
When can we expect to see “Fireball” back in the cage?KEDZIE:
I am REALLY hoping to fight again before the end of the year, if Strikeforce allows it and I don't do anything else stupid to myself.MMAPG:
Well, until then, take care of yourself and good luck with your training, Julie. Thank you so much for taking time away from your schedule to chat with us. Any closing comments?KEDZIE:
Thank YOU! I would just like to thank my team, coaches and training partners for their continued support! If anyone is interested in me me for potential sponsorship/bookings, please email Jahani Curl: firstname.lastname@example.org
* * * * *Follow @julesk_fighter on TwitterJulie "Fireball" Kedzie on Sherdog.comDISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.