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ABU DHABI – Joanne Calderwood had a flyweight title shot all locked up – until she didn’t.
Though she’s ready to move on Saturday at UFC 257, Calderwood (14-5 MMA, 6-5 UFC) regrets the decision to risk her crack at the champion when she took another fight in lieu of waiting.
In mid-2020, Calderwood was the designated next challenger for UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. However, when the champion was knocked out of action for a few months due to injury, Calderwood elected to stay active and took a fight against fellow contender Jennifer Maia rather than sit tight and wait for Shevchenko to heal.
Calderwood was submitted in the first round and, while Maia went on to face Shevchenko for the title in November, Calderwood began a rehab of her own.
“I definitely regret it because I injured my arm, and I had to deal with that,” Calderwood told MMA Junkie at a pre-fight news conference Tuesday. “There was some stuff afterward that didn’t go as planned. I regret it a little bit, but I try to see it as a positive. Everything happens for a reason. Here I am, not even a couple of months later, and fighting, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Calderwood, 34, revealed that medical professionals had suggested she could undergo surgery, but she elected not to. Instead, she chose rehab and stem cell shots.
Regardless of the outcome, Calderwood isn’t putting too much weight into her lackluster performance that night. She wasn’t her best self that night.
“I don’t think it was the jiu-jitsu, honestly,” Calderwood said. “I just wasn’t feeling good the whole day. Mentally, I was outside of my body. I’ve been in that position a lot and I just felt like I wasn’t there, if you know what I mean. I was outside. It wasn’t my jiu-jitsu. It was just a bad day at the office.”
Now, Calderwood turns her attention away from the past and toward the future. The Scot fights on the UFC 257 pay-per-view main card on Saturday against Jessica Eye (15-8 MMA, 5-7 UFC), a fighter she does not like.
“I see her every day at the PI,” Calderwood said. “She walks around like this ‘skillbilly’. She rubs me and she rubs everyone else up the wrong way. I feel like I’m the lucky one who gets to punch her and get paid for it.
“… We don’t like each other, so yeah. I wouldn’t say we’re putting a lot of trash out there. Last week, before I left here, she was trying to talk to me in the changing room. So I don’t if it’s that much of a grudge (match). I think it’s more for show. For me, I’m just here to turn up and do my job and tell you guys honestly my opinion.”
UFC 257 takes place Saturday at Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The main card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view after prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.