Joanne Calderwood explains why she’s willing to risk a title shot against Valentina Shevchenko in order to fight Jennifer Maia

Joanne Calderwood
Image Credit: UFC

Flyweight standout Joanne Calderwood has divulged why she is willing to a risk a title shot against Valentina Shevchenko for the opportunity to fight Jennifer Maia at UFC Vegas 5.

Only a couple of months ago, the number three ranked flyweight was preparing to face off against the current champion, Valentina Shevchenko for the 125-pound crown. However, a knee injury and subsequent surgery forced Shevchenko out of their fight and put their matchup on the backburner.

The champion revealed she was eyeing an August return, but the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming fight date left Calderwood contemplating her options.

When it was clear that Shevchenko wasn’t going to be ready to compete again until the latter part of the year, Calderwood had to decide if she was going to risk sitting out for over one year in hopes of still receiving the title shot, or whether she should stay active with the knowledge that a loss could eradicate any chance of a possible upcoming title shot.

For Joanne Calderwood, the risk is worth taking. She said to MMA Fighting, “I feel like I’m at the point of my career where I train consistently, my weight’s good, my mindset’s good, and I feel like if the ball’s in your court, then why not?

“I feel like I’ve got nothing to lose, because I have been training and I have been staying up with my nutrition. I feel like I’m ready to go, and it’s good to be at that point in your point, because you never know what opportunity can come up, and I feel like this is a great opportunity for me.”

According to the Scottish flyweight, after discovering that Shevchenko wouldn’t be ready to fight in August or September as originally anticipated, she informed the UFC that she is willing to fight again.

Meanwhile, on August 1, Vivane Araujo was expected to take on Jennifer Maia in a pivotal flyweight bout. However, Araujo tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced out of the clash, leaving Joanne Calderwood to step up at the last minute for this weekend’s Las Vegas card. “Jojo” believes her return to the Octagon will serve as a reminder to fans as to why she is a top flyweight contender.

“This sport, people only remember who just fought on the weekend and I feel like that was also part of me wanting to get back in there,” Calderwood said. “Cause there’s flyweights out there that are onto their second and third fight now and I’ve been out for a year.

“I get it, I’m in a great position and a great opportunity ahead of me, but at the same time, I’m not getting paid and people aren’t thinking I’m relevant to this spot. I want to go out there and prove to myself and to the fans as well and I want to stay active. For me, I know that’s the best thing for me.”

For Calderwood, she believes getting back to business and staying active will be the secret to her future success.

“It’s been coming up on a year since I fought and I just missed that,” Joanne Calderwood explained. “I miss all the emotions and it can get alienated to you that you’ve not done it so long.

“So I feel like for me, I made a good decision because I don’t want to be going in against the best girl in the division feeling, ‘Oh jeez, it’s been so long since I know what fight week feels like,’ and getting ready and getting your hands wrapped and being in that moment. The thing is octagon time is very important.”