Two years later, virtually to the day, “JoJo” will take to the cage as soon as once more inside Glasgow’s SSE Hydro this weekend at UFC Battle Night time: Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio. And regardless of having stepped into the cage in all places from Las Vegas to New Delhi over the course of her profession, the Kilmarnock native retains a particular place in her coronary heart for a house crowd.
“It’s nice to journey and to battle in numerous locations, however nothing beats house,” Calderwood stated. “Everybody will get behind you and helps you on that stroll. I can’t anticipate Sunday night time.”
Ready contained in the Octagon within the blue nook can be Cynthia Calvillo. Do you have to not be conversant in the Sacramento, California native, you’re in good firm.
“I solely knew her as soon as we have been matched up,” Calderwood admitted relating to the UFC rookie who made her debut at UFC 209 in March.
Being featured on the Pay-Per-View essential card in solely her fourth skilled struggle, Calvillo impressed with a primary-spherical rear bare choke towards Amanda Cooper. A month later, Calvillo repeated that end in spherical three towards Pearl Gonzalez, as soon as once more on a Pay-Per-View important card.
5 fights into her skilled profession, Calvillo has now made the lengthy journey throughout the pond to take out Calderwood in entrance of her personal individuals and convey the hype to a brand new degree. Or to get despatched again to California together with her first skilled loss within the bag.
“She’s thrilling, she’s an excellent fighter and she or he’s acquired a number of hype behind her,” Calderwood acknowledged. “I’m wanting ahead to the problem however I additionally know that she hasn’t fought anybody like me. The hype gained’t change something once we’re in there on Sunday.”
“I met her in Dallas for the primary time on the [Summer Kickoff] press convention in Might. However I’m not right here to make associates or to get to know their character. I do know that within the Octagon, we’ll each attempt to take one another out and take the win. As soon as I’m within the zone, it doesn’t make a distinction.”
Scheduled for the co-foremost occasion this weekend, Calderwood will attempt to make good on what she had hoped to perform final yr: a run at a UFC belt. She simply isn’t positive but which one will probably be.
Coming off a stellar TKO win over former strawweight title challenger Valerie Letourneau final June, Calderwood confronted future title challenger Jessica Andrade three months later at UFC 203, and misplaced.
“It was very irritating for me,” Calderwood stated, remembering the guillotine choke that catapulted Andrade right into a title shot and shredded her personal hopes for gold. “However I discovered a variety of classes that night time – I feel (the defeat) was meant to be. I’m nonetheless getting there.”
One of many classes Calderwood discovered was that operating battle camps again to again isn’t a good suggestion on the prime of the sport.
“(I need to battle steadily) so long as I’m getting higher, however final yr it was too rushed to battle twice in three months. I assume perhaps the UFC needed to hold on the momentum (of the Letourneau win) and push me in the direction of the highest. However three months was too brief. In hindsight, I feel I shouldn’t have taken that struggle.
“I do need to battle as a lot as I can. I’d wish to struggle each month, however once you’re preventing the perfect and also you’ve received aspirations to struggle for titles, then it’s a must to maintain your self again a bit of bit in that regard typically.”
One other factor that bothers Calderwood is the minimize to the one hundred fifteen-pound strawweight restrict. Having fought Letourneau one division up at flyweight, Calderwood hopes to develop into part of the UFC’s latest weight class as soon as it’s open for enterprise later this yr. Chopping ten kilos much less would’ve probably spared her one other uncomfortable expertise at UFC 203.
“I had a sore abdomen from chopping weight. I didn’t really feel so good however in fact the loss was brought on by technical errors. I needed to take a loss nevertheless it’s a studying recreation.”
Aiming to take advantage of a depressing state of affairs, Calderwood can rely on the help of competent coaches to make that objective a actuality. The Scot is a daily visitor at each Tristar Health club in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and on the excessive-finish facility of Mjölnir MMA in Reykjavík, Iceland.
“(Tristar head coach) Firas Zahabi undoubtedly helped me analyze the loss,” Calderwood stated. “He’s an superior coach. He’s so educated and he doesn’t simply inform you what you probably did incorrect, he exhibits it to you proper on the mat. He’s all the time on the mats, rolling.”
“I’ve all the time traveled to Iceland, even once I was nonetheless coaching (full-time) in Scotland. I’ve received good coaching companions there and it’s a tremendous complicated. It’s probably the greatest on the planet in MMA and I’ll proceed to go there sooner or later, for positive.”
With ardour, method and the help of 10,000 compatriots, Calderwood will probably be trying to put what she’s discovered since September into apply this weekend. For herself, her groups and the followers who will probably be cheering the Thai boxing skilled on towards the American grappler.
“They’re going to see an excellent battle between two thrilling fighters. I’m going to attempt to hold it standing and do what I do. I’m wanting ahead to Sunday.”