Joanne Calderwood well aware of risk in fighting Jennifer Maia on short notice at UFC on ESPN+ 31

Joanne Calderwood is confident in her decision to fight Jennifer Maia on short notice at UFC on ESPN+ 31 and believes it’ll help her in the long run.

Calderwood (14-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) will fight for the first time this year when she meets Maia (17-6-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) in the women’s flyweight co-main event of Saturday’s card, which takes place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas and streams on ESPN+. Her original plans called to challenge champion Valentina Shevchenko in June, but an injury forced “Bullet” to withdraw.

Waiting for Shevchenko to recover was fine with Calderwood originally. But then the timeline got pushed back further, and Shevchenko might not be available until at least November. That didn’t sit well with Calderwood, who hasn’t fought since September 2019, so when Maia was in need of a new opponent, she jumped on the opportunity.

“For me, we were training for Valentina, and then it got put back then it got put back again, and I guess the frustration in me, I was just not getting anything out,” Calderwood told reporters, including MMA Junkie, during Thursday’s UFC on ESPN+ 31 virtual media day. “I was enjoying training, and I was getting better, but I was itching to get back in and let that killer instinct out of me. I feel like I just wanted to get in there and fight and had a lot of energy I wanted to get out, and also with the crazy times that are going on right now, I was just like, ‘I want to go out there.’

“I have the opportunity to do it, I’m healthy, and I don’t have any injuries, so that also plays on a lot of fighters’ minds when you’re doing this for a job and it’s full contact. I could get injured, and that could put me out for a few months, so that was also in the back of my mind.”

Calderwood said she’s not ignorant to the potential downside of her situation. It took her more than five years on the UFC roster to finally secure a title fight, and now there’s a chance the wait could be significantly longer if things don’t go her way. The upside, of course, is a statement win would add even more intrigue to a clash with Shevchenko once healthy.

At least that’s what Calderwood hopes.

“It’s sad to say you just never know (if I’ll still get the title shot),” Calderwood said. “That’s out of my control, and I know I took a risk taking this fight. For me it makes sense, and I know I’ll be ready. Win on Saturday then I’ll be ready to – if she’s coming back in November, I’ll definitely be ready to take that title shot if UFC will let me have it.”

Despite all the questions about her decision-making, Calderwood said she’s doing well to put her blinders on and focus on the fight. Ultimately that’s her whole motivation for accepting the challenge with Maia under these circumstances, because she wants to unleash her pent-up emotions in a way that can only be done inside the octagon.

She knows it won’t be an easy task, either. Calderwood offered praise to Maia as an opponent and doesn’t expect a walk in the park on fight night.

“When I have watched her I know she’s a great stand-up kind of brawler, so I’m looking forward to that matchup, because obviously I like striking,” Calderwood said. “She’s very tough, just judging by her record to go to decision a lot, so I know I’m in for a tough fight. She’s top 10, she’s No. 6, so she’s no joke. I just want to be fighting the best.”

View full post on MMA Junkie

, , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

© 1992-2020 DC2NET™, Inc. All Rights Reserved