Phoenix, AZ — Despite the past year being the toughest of circumstances, Joanne Calderwood has found a silver lining.
“Take away all that crap and the pandemic, obviously, but I feel like the gym has been at the best it’s ever been. The most busy. It feels like everyone just came out, and we’ve just grooved so much at the gym. I don’t know. Obviously, it was a crappy time for everyone, including myself, when I got COVID,” said Calderwood during this week’s UFC 263 media day. Despite that, “I felt like there was a lot of pros from last year.”
That included getting back in the win column. Still, Calderwood was surprised when she landed the match-up with the surging Lauren Murphy at UFC 263. “I was chasing this fight, I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to get it.’ We had heard, ‘no, that’s not going to be the next fight for you.’ I kept pushing it and pushing it, and then finally they were like ‘yeah let’s do it.'”
“That’s the power of social media, I guess,” she added. “I realized that, and I was like ‘okay, cool.'”
Murphy had been campaigning for an immediate title shot, for her part. “Obviously, Lauren was very vocal that she wanted to be next, and that didn’t happen for her,” said Calderwood. “I think everything happens for a reason. I’m glad to get this challenge.”
She has no idea why the promotion was so hesitant to book this particular match-up. Especially given it seems like such a no-brainer.
“I don’t know. You never know with the UFC. You really don’t know. You know what they’re thinking or planning. They’ve always kind of got things going on,” she noted. “I don’t know why it wasn’t going to happen. I don’t know; I really don’t know.”
On the match-up itself, “I love it. She’s tough,” observed Calderwood. “We’ve both never really been stopped; I’ve only been submitted. So I can see us both going the distance and putting on a great performance because we’re going to go in there and let our shit go. It’s going to be a great fight for the fans.”
Murphy has suggested this will be a bloody fight. Calderwood agrees. “We’re both pale-skinned, we’re just going to go in there and hit each other, and we’re going to come out looking like lobsters. With blood or just our skin being pink.”
Watch the full UFC 263 media day scrum with Joanne Calderwood above. The event takes place this Saturday, June 12, at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The main card airs live on PPV.