Joanne Calderwood believes her UFC Fight Night89 bout with Valerie Letourneau will be “absolute war”.
The pair will meet at the TD Place Arena in Ottawa , Canada on June 18th in what has all the makings of an epic battle between two of the UFC’s top female fighters.
Scottish standout Calderwood has been out of action since her Fight of The Night victory in Glasgow last July due to injury, but now 100% healthy, the fans favourite can’t wait to step back inside the Octagon against the number five ranked Letourneau.
Jojo said: “Valerie is very tough and quite big for the division. She is also coming off a five round title fight with Joanna Jedrzejczyk where she lost to decision. That fight only went to the ground once, I think, so with us both being stand-up fighters I think we are going to have an absolute war. I‘m really looking forward to it”.
It will be 11 months to the day from Joanne’s last fight and it speaks volumes about her ambition and new found confidence that she chose a top five ranked opponent after such a long lay-off.
Calderwood said: “I am pretty sure a lot of girls would not pick a fight with Valarie but I will fight anyone. Plus, I knew I would have a better chance of getting on the Canadian card if I fought her. I really wanted on this card as I train there now, so what better way to make it happen than to ask to fight someone from Canada”.
Calderwood has made Canada her new home from home having made the move to train full time at Montreal’s renowned Tri-Star Gym earlier this year on the recommendation of Joe Duffy and Stevie Ray, and fighting one of Canada’s own in her motherland does not phase the Scot one bit either. She said: “I didn’t feel like I was improving as a fighter and felt like I needed a new outlet. I spoke to both Joe and Stevie and they said I should go to Tristar”.
“Within a couple of days of moving there I knew it was a great place. I connected with everyone and I enjoy the structure to their training”.
“I’m very open minded to learning new things and I want to be more creative. I get really motivated when I learn different techniques and put them into practice in sparring”.
“I also get the opportunity to train with world class people; I have sparred with Rory MacDonald which is awesome as I love to watch his fights. I certainly never thought I would ever fight on the same card as him so this is super exciting”.
“It doesn’t matter tha Valarie is from Canada as Canada feels like home for me now. I also know all the guys from Tristar will support me in this fight. I’ve made a lot of friends there and I just want to put on a good show for the Canadian fans”.
Joanne is currently back in Scotland visiting family and friends but is heading back out to Canada in a week’s time to begin her fight camp. Jojo said: “When I get back to Tristar next week and start my training camp I will speak to my coach Firas [Zahabi] about the fight. Firas will be in my corner and I will listen to everything he has to say. I feel like he really has my back and that makes me feel confident”.
“I always get confidence from a good training camp and it makes you feel like you can beat anyone. We will work on a game plan but it’s also important that I can change things up in the moment if the fight doesn’t go the way we expected it to”.
The bout will be contested at flyweight and marks the UFC’s first ever women’s 125-pound fight. UFC officials are looking into possibly opening a women’s flyweight division in the future, something that Joanne thinks will prove popular amongst the female roster.
Calderwood said: “I fought at flyweight in my second MMA fight because I took it on short notice but all my other fights, including my Muay Thai fights have been at strawweight”.
“I don’t struggle to make strawweight but as I get older I don’t want to walk around feeling like I’m making weight all the time, eating small dinners and stuff like that. I got seven weeks notice for this fight and I usually need about ten weeks to make strawweight”.
“I could have made weight but it would have killed me doing it so I thought I might as well ask and they came back and said yes”.
“Flyweight is perfect for me, I would be much happier cutting just a little and be able to make weight easier. I would also be able take fights on short notice. A lot of the girls when I was in the TUF house spoke about flyweight and said they would prefer it. I also think some of the bantamweight girls would come down to 125lbs. It would be a great division”.
As for once again being another part of UFC history, Jojo said: “It’s a good way of looking at the opportunity but it would be suit me better if I was making history for being a UFC champion”
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