Women's MMA pioneer Julie Kedzie retires from the UFC

The women's MMA pioneer decided to call it a career on Friday night following her loss to Bethe Correia.

Julie Kedzie called it a career after her UFC Fight Night loss to Bethe Correia.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC / Zuffa LLC

The word "pioneer" doesn't get tossed around in mixed martial arts too often and it's usually reserved for names like Royce Gracie, but on Friday night a true original called it a career after a hard-fought loss inside the Octagon.

Veteran women's competitor Julie Kedzie stated via Twitter following her split decision loss to Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night in Australia that she decided even prior to the bout taking place that this would be the night she retired from fighting.

"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," Kedzie wrote.  "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."

Kedzie began her career in fighting during the days when women's MMA was a completely unknown entity, competing in shows starting in 2004 long before people ever heard the names Gina Carano or Ronda Rousey.

Looking at her career record, Kedzie's resume is a who's who list of top women's fighters, and her contributions over the last 11 years can't be quantitatively judged based on wins or losses.  

She was one half of the first ever women's MMA fight broadcast on television when she took on Gina Carano in Elite XC in 2007, and she was also arguably a part of the greatest women's fight in history during her battle with Miesha Tate in Strikeforce in August 2012.

Kedzie finally made her UFC debut earlier this year and while her record may read 0-2 inside the Octagon, she's always been revered as a legend, pioneer and icon of women's MMA.

"I really truly want to thank all of you for being a part of my journey as a fighter," Kedzie said.  "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 a 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."

Beyond her own fighting career, Kedzie is a mainstay at Jackson's MMA in New Mexico where she's learned firsthand from coach Greg Jackson over the years so it's likely she will quickly adapt into a new role leading the other fighters that work at the gym as well.  Kedzie has also done commentary work in the past for promotions like Invicta FC, and it would seem she would be a natural for that role as well if a position opened up with the UFC or FOX.

Kedzie has also done stunt work in the past for different film projects alongside her teammates and friends Keith Jardine and Tait Fletcher.

Kedzie closes her career with a record of 16-13 overall and a lifetime of achievements that helped pave the way for women's MMA as a whole.

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