When you’ve been through just about everything in the sport of MMA, it’s rare that a new experience or situation presents itself.

Yet, for 32-year-old bantamweight Julie Kedzie, her Octagon debut was a harsh lesson about listening to her body. The Jackson’s MMA product came out flat and came up on the wrong end of a split decision against Germaine de Randamie at UFC on Fox 8 in July.

“I overtrained for that fight,” Kedzie admitted in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “That’s one of those lessons that I had to learn about myself, painfully. There’s nothing you can say or do. It sucks that about a zillion people saw it.”

Having competed for Strikeforce, EliteXC, BodogFight and HOOKnSHOOT, Kedzie was excited to finally step into the world-famous Octagon. But after nearly a year off due to injury, the enormity of things got to the veteran.

Kedzie (Bryan Henderson/The MMA Corner)

Kedzie (Bryan Henderson/The MMA Corner)

“I really pretended like I wasn’t nervous or freaked out,” said Kedzie. “I kept bringing that to the gym and I wouldn’t leave the gym. I think it showed. I was so flat and unable to execute. Everything shut down.

“I knew I had been in those positions, but I couldn’t pass the half guard. What the hell? People punch me in the face all the time; I don’t just take it, I fight back. It’s one of those things where I don’t think I respected my body enough. My coaches saw it and were trying to get me to leave the gym and ease up, but at some point I think they threw their hands up and said let her overtrain, let her find out what happens. I’m not glad I lost, but I’m glad I learned that lesson.”

Even with the newly acquired knowledge about her training regimen, the ever-candid Kedzie couldn’t hide her true feeling about the fight’s outcome.

“I was heartbroken,” she proclaimed. “It sucked. It’s not so much losing as it is losing in such a boring way. It was a boring, horrible fight. I was really disappointed in myself.”

Compounding the situation for the New Mexico-based fighter is the fact that she’s now lost three straight fights for the first time in her 28-fight career. Although all three losses have come against fighters currently in the UFC—de Randamie, Miesha Tate and Alexis Davis—Kedzie does not take solace in her performances.

“It’s really frustrating,” she declared. “At least I fought in the Miesha fight. I feel like the Davis fight was boring as hell too. I’m not known for boring fights.

“When I lose in a boring way, it’s much, much worse. If my arm gets caught and I tapped, it happens. The highest-level people in the world have tapped. A submission is a submission for a reason. You learn to understand those and how not to get caught in them. Losing in a boring way is the worst way to lose in the whole world.”

Kedzie will look to put an end to her frustration and her losing streak when she takes on newcomer Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night 33 on Dec. 6 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Unlike her previous UFC appearance against de Randamie, Kedzie knows very little about her unbeaten opponent.

“She’s seems very confident, and that’s a scary thing,” explained the veteran. “She hasn’t lost yet, but you see her approach and you think she’s really got something for me. All things considered, I expect her to be a very dangerous, very game opponent.”

On paper, the fact that Kedzie has more than four times as many fights as Correia might give the impression that this fight is a mismatch. But Kedzie believes the evolution of the sport makes her experience edge a moot point.

“You see this new crop of fighters, and they’ve had more exposure to MMA training than I did early in my career,” Kedzie expressed. “I may carry more fights to the table, but I think we’re pretty evenly matched. A lot of my fights were me learning the sport. ‘Oh, look, I got tapped, I have to learn how to grapple,’ or, ‘I’m getting punched all the time, I better learn how to strike.’ Those things are being fixed on a fundamental level for all these up-and-coming girls. I think, in a way, they carry that advantage.”

Kedzie (top) (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Kedzie (top) (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

So, against a largely unknown fighter in a foreign country, does Kedzie believe she’s fighting for her job this weekend?

“I think every fight is a must-win fight,” she admitted. “I realize that people see it as ‘if you lose this one, you’re out,’ but that’s pressure you really can’t deal with until it actually happens. I can’t look at the future. I’ve done a shitload in my career and I still don’t think I’ve reached my full potential. They’re all must-win fights.

“People might be writing this, that or the other and there might be added pressure, but the reality of the situation is that this is the career I chose. Every time I step into the cage, it’s dangerous. Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and psychologically. To take any of that lightly is to be ill-prepared. I don’t care to be ill-prepared. It’s not must-win because if I lose this fight I’m going to get kicked out of the UFC, it’s must-win because I have put myself in a position where I must win.”

Victory isn’t the only thing that Kedzie is gunning for when she kicks off the main card on Fox Sports 1. She’s looking to set an example for others.

“I want to give [the fans] a show,” she said. “I want them to see me as a happy fighter. I want them to see how much I love this sport in this fight.

“If that comes with a knockout or submission ‘of the Night’ bonus, I’d be happy. But what I really want is a ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus. That would mean that both fighters were fully engaged and the crowd was into it.”

Regardless of what happens in the cage in the Land Down Under, Kedzie’s passion for fighting is unquestionable. And hopefully for the sake of the fans, she’ll put on the show she so desperately wants.

Julie would like to thank her teammates; all of her sponsors: Fear the Fighter, Training Mask and Jaco; as well as her dog, Bailey. Follow Kedzie on Twitter: @julesk_fighter

Top Photo: Julie Kedzie (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)