(Kedzie — being gawked at by Gina Carano and Gary Shaw — in the good ‘ol bad days of women’s MMA. / Photo via George Ruiz)
When Julie Kedzie dropped a split-decision to Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night 33, it marked her fourth-consecutive loss in MMA, dropping her lifetime record to 16-13. But even before the scores were read, Kedzie had made up her mind that she had reached the end of the road. Directly following the fight, Kedzie went on twitter to announce her retirement from MMA, after nearly ten years in the sport:
Before walking out to my fight today, I had a long talk with my coach and we decided that this would be my last MMA fight. I would have loved to have gone out on a win, but c’est la vie-don’t leave it to the judges. Heartbreak is a huge part of this sport. I really truly want to thank all of you for being a part of my journey as a fighter. I will still be involved in MMA for the rest of my life..but now it’s time for me to accept that I can give more to the sport by stepping back and taking role in helping to develop other fighters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the @UFC, my team, and all of you who have made me achieve some amazing dreams.
Female bantamweight old-schoolers like Kedzie, Roxanne Modafferi, and Shayna Baszler have looked a step behind their more modern counterparts during their brief time featured in the UFC and on TUF, but it would be unfair to chalk it up to a lack of talent. What we’ve witnessed lately has been a generational changing-of-the-guard, in which the pioneers — who often start out one-dimensional, rounding out their games as they go along — are replaced by the young fighters who grew up with the sport.
Julie Kedzie began her career in 2004, when eight-person tournaments were still socially acceptable, before women’s MMA was readily available on television, and when there was virtually no incentive for a women to compete in MMA, other than the thrill of competition.