Joanne Calderwood’s destruction of top ranked Valerie Letourneau at UFC Fight Night 89 back in June was easily the finest performance of her UFC career to date, and rightly shot the Kilmarnock fighter back into the strawweight division’s top 10.
Joanne is desperate to build on that momentum as soon as possible and the UFC have moved quick to grant Calderwood’s wishes by matching the popular Scot with Brazillian Jessica Andrade (14-5) at UFC203, which takes place in Cleveland, Ohio on September 10th.
Jojo said: “After my last fight I spoke to the matchmakers and said I wanted to fight again in September or October. They asked me who I wanted to fight and I mentioned Carla Esparza and Tecia Torres but the matchmakers came back and said it would be Jessica. I’m really happy with that match-up too and its not been long since my last fight so I am still in a good place, still in the zone”
Andrade has spent the majority of her career competing at bantamweight (135lbs), however, the 5ft 2in Brazillian felt strawweight was a more natural fit and announced her decision to drop divisions at the end of 2015. An impressive TKO win over Jessica Penne at UFC199 on June 4th marked the 24 year old’s strawweight debut and cemented her as the number six ranked 115lbs fighter in the UFC. Calderwood has a fairly good idea of what Andrade will bring to the table, she said: “I had seen one or two of Jessica’s fights but I have done some more research on her. She has a Muay Thai background so I am hoping for a good stand up fight, but I honestly believe that she will try and take this fight to the ground. But I am prepared for that, the guys at Tristar have a strong wrestling background and I know they will give me a hard time so that if the fight goes to the ground I will be comfortable there”.
A win over a dangerous fighter like Jessica Andrade will catapult Calderwood further up the rankings and send a clear statement to the UFC’s top brass that the Scottish star has a legitimate claim to a shot at Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s strawweight crown, and in the very near future. Jojo said: “I wanted to make a statement in my last fight against Valarie and that’s exactly what I done”. Asked if she was the person to dethrone the current champion, Jojo said: “If I didn’t think I could do that there is no place for me in this sport. I wont look past Jessica but if I keep winning and performing, I know the title fight will come”.
UFC203 sees the heavyweight title up for grabs as champion Stipe Miocic looks to make his first title defence against former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. Also on the card is former WWE superstar CM Punk who makes his long awaited MMA debut against Mickey Gall. This will be Joanne’s debut on a pay-per-view card and hopes it’s the start of bigger and better things to come. She said: “It’s really exciting to fight on this card and it’s a great opportunity to show what I can do. I am grateful to be part of it but I don’t want to be just somewhere on a fight card. I want to be more of the star, I want to be a main or co-main fighter. So I know if I keep winning and impressing then that will eventually happen”.