Joanne Calderwood exclusive: 'JoJo' hopes to inspire next generation of Scottish UFC fighters

Joanne Calderwood

Joanne Calderwood admits she wants to inspire the next generation of Scottish UFC fighters as she prepares to take on Lauren Murphy at UFC 263 on Saturday night at the Gila River Arena in Arizona. 

The 33-year-old's most recent bout came in January of this year against Jessica Eye, whom she defeated in comprehensive fashion over the course of their three-round flyweight bout on the main card of UFC 257: Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor 2. 

Calderwood's life could have been very different if her mother hadn't directed her to a local amateur kickboxing club in Irvine close to where she grew up. It was here that she would go on to become International Kickboxing Flyweight European champion while also being named the Scottish Thai Boxing Association Fighter of the Year in 2009.  

And Calderwood admits it hasn't always been easy, having started training in Muay Thai at the age of 13.

"For me, this is always been part of what I'm doing," Calderwood said in an exclusive interview with GIVEMESPORT. "You know, I can remember being a young girl, back when I started in there being no other girls and being very, very small.

"And I've seen the growth over the years but I just hope that I inspire someone out there, boy or girl, you know, to follow their dreams because for me back then it was only a dream and I can't believe that I actually got to where I am now.

"But yeah, if I can inspire anyone, especially people from Scotland, to do what they want to do, that is one of the goals of mine."

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Calderwood (15-5) rarely has a bad word to say about any of her opponents and also spoke highly of Murphy, who is currently riding a four-fight winning streak. 

"Ah, she's awesome, she's tough," said the 33-year-old. "I feel like she's going to bring the fight that I love and the type of fight that fans love.

"You know, we're both like, tough, pale-skinned and ready to go and ready to bleed in there."

Valentina Shevchenko

As for what's next, Calderwood says a win over the American should put her at the front of the queue to face undisputed UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. 

Calderwood, 33, was originally scheduled to face Shevchenko in June of last year but their fight was cancelled after the Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian pulled out of the fight with a leg injury. 

She continued: "I hope so, you know, you never know what plays out with the UFC. But I think, you know, if I beat Lauren, she was very vocal about she should be next. She's on a tear right now.

"So yeah, I think if I go out and put on a good performance, then yeah, I don't see what else can be next, especially with Valentina [Shevchenko] being so... [her voice trails off]

"But she is already said that she wants to stay active and she wants to fight as well so that's awesome."

Watch UFC® 263: ADESANYA vs. VETTORI 2 main card live from 3:00am as well as late prelims, which start at 1:00am, on BT Sport 1, with early prelims live exclusively on Fight Pass from 11pm this Saturday, 12 June.

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