Flyweight Joanne Calderwood returns at UFC 257 this weekend. And despite being one of the nicest, most soft-spoken fighters on the UFC roster, this time, it’s personal.
Remember, this is an athlete who once offered to bake a carrot cake for an opponent.
However, her feud with opponent Jessica Eye goes back to last year. “We actually wanted this fight last year,” Calderwood (14-5) told media outlets including Cageside Press during a UFC 257 virtual media day to promote the PPV card. “I’m looking forward to this match-up. I like her style for what I’ve got. Looking forward to it, and I know she always brings it. So it will be an exciting fight.”
What she doesn’t like is Eye’s history of missing weight. Especially in her fight against Cynthia Calvillo last year. Which is where the beef really started.
“It came from her last fight with Cynthia. She took it on two weeks notice, and she missed weight by 0.2lbs,” explained Calderwood. “I was kind of annoyed because I was ready to fight, and I would have made weight. And I had heard that she was not 0.2lbs over, she was 4lbs over the morning of. So I was just calling her out. And I kind of want to get the curtain trick banned, because I think she used that. I just put that out in the Twitter world and she replied. She just attacked me back for my honesty.”
The curtain trick, like the towel trick, allows a fighter weighing in to shed a bit of weight by resting their hands on the barrier hiding their nudity. The trick was made infamous by Daniel Cormier at UFC 211.
In any case, Eye now has someone to visualize when hitting things. “Maybe not my sparring partners, because I do like them,” said Calderwood. However, “When I’m visualizing, I definitely see her face and it’s a good motivation knowing that I really don’t like her. She rubs me the wrong way. It’s good to see her face getting some elbows and some punches and kicks when I’m visualizing the fight.”
Calderwood was on the doorstep of a title shot before she chose to stay busy last year, dropping a fight to Jennifer Maia, who stepped in against flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko as a result. Perhaps a bit gun shy from that experience, “JoJo” isn’t thinking about what a win over Eye means.
“One step at a time. Just get back in the win column, so that I can stay active and get another fight as soon as possible,” she stated. “That’s my goal right now, to get back to fighting a lot. I want to fight twice, or hopefully three times this year.”
After the Maia fight, Calderwood also had a fainting spell. She recounted that experience to Cageside Press this week. “It was pretty serious. The whole day I was not feeling good. Didn’t have enough to eat, and probably drink that day. I’m usually on that,” the Scottish fighter recalled.
“Just wasn’t feeling right the whole day, and afterwards, I passed out. I stood up, and my legs went away from me. And then got put in the ambulance, they were checking me out and then they called for backup,” she continued. “Apparently my heart rate dropped. They were worried. Pretty much that.”
As to what led to the incident, “I got COVID a few days later, so we think it’s maybe just been that aspect, and what I went through that night,” Calderwood suggested. “Not sure, just happy to be here and healthy.”
UFC 257 takes place this Saturday, January 23 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The main card airs live on PPV.