Explosive and exciting Scotish striker Joanna Calderwood treks across the ocean to again conquer the Invicta cage on July 13th, for Invicta FC 6.
Shrugging off two opponent changes, Calderwood is focused on one thing; NormaRuedaCenter. With a mental game as strong as her renowned striking, Calderwood is intent on earning the win, and propelling herself towards the Invicta FC Straweight World title.
Corey Smith: You have said in the past that you got into MMA by accident. How did your love for MMA come about?
Joanne Calderwood: I started Muay Thai by accident. I went along to a class to keep my little brother company initially. After a while he packed it in, and I got more and more into it. I got into MMA just from being around the MMA guys in our gym, they seemed to be having a lot of fun, Their banter was funny, they were getting decent exposure, and opportunities where as I was getting less fights in Muay Thai.
JC: I had pretty much achieved everything I wanted to in it when I became a world champion. The thing I love most about MMA is just learning every day in the gym.
CS: At one point you were a nursing assistant. Have you considered the irony of helping people with health problems at one point, and then being the one causing the health problems?
JC: Haha, I still trained Muay Thai when I was working in the hospitals. I loved working and helping people especially the elderly. For the record I never took my training to work and never took my work to training
JC: I feel that I’m still that caring person but now it’s just looking after people in the gym and looking out for my team mates. When I fight I never go in wanting to injure my opponent, it’s a sport. I want to beat them within the rules but I know they’re there to hurt me and sometimes they do get hurt. I try and always check on the girls after I fight them.
CS: With your genesis in MMA coming via kickboxing, do you ever see yourself going back to solely kickboxing matches?
JC: To be honest the thing I love in MMA is to be the best you got to beat the best. In Muay Thai every girl in my category is a champion, I beat four world champions before picking up my world title, and in the end the title thing was never a factor for me.
JC: But with MMA, the Invicta title belt will mean the world to me when I win it. Outside of Ronda I believe the Invicta champions are the best female fighters in the world at each respective weight class.
JC: I will still take big Muay Thai fights, defend my ISKA title and if the right opportunity comes along I’d take it, but MMA is my first priority.
CS: Does being one of the only active female fighters from Scotland hold special meaning to you?
JC: No not at all, it doesn’t really bother me and it doesn’t make me feel special in any way. I’d still be doing this if there were a hundred females in Scotland doing this and I’d still be the best one in the bunch.
JC: It does make me proud being a fighter and traveling and showing other countries that Scots can fight. Scotland’s a proud fighting country.
CS: What is the MMA community like in Scotland and in Europe? Are there major differences between European MMA and in the United States?
JC: Yea there is some big differences, in general everything is a bit more professional and regulated in the United States although there are some really good promotions in Europe doing good things. I’d say Europe is a little behind the states, but they’re getting there. You can see this with some of the European fighters doing well in the big US based shows.
CS: Your MMA career has taken you all around the globe, from your home in Scotland, to the United States, and including a stop in India. How does travel affect your training and conditioning?
JC: My training is usually done by the time I travel; I’ve never had any trouble with travelling. When I went to India I felt it a bit, but I just got on with it. I don’t like to cause any drama. At the end of the day I’m there to do my job and can’t really moan about it when it’s what I want to do. The traveling and weight cut is all mental, it should never be an excuse for under performing.
CS: You have fought on two previous Invcita cards, earning Knockout of the Night on one of them. How has your experience been like so far with the company?
JC: In one word; awesomeness. They are really great to work for and fight for. I’m so excited to be going back and to have extended my contract with them. I was gutted I wasn’t on the last one. I’d fight on every show they put on if they would let me. It’s really nice to get treated as a professional athlete by everyone on the team and I was a fan of the show the first time I saw it, so it’s cool to be a part of it.
CS: Your opponent at Invicta FC 6 on July 13th, NormaCenter, who trains out of Jacksons MMA, and brings an undefeated record with her. What are you expecting out of this bout?
JC: I’m really looking forward to putting on another great performance, my camp has been great and I’m just getting into last few weeks of training. Even though my opponents changed twice it doesn’t affect my training camp, it just means my coaches might need to tailor it a tad, but my heads been down and nothing can change that.
CS: There is some thought that the winner of this bout could be in line for a shot at current Invicta FC Straweight Champion Carla Esparza. Do title shot implications carry with them extra pressure for you?
JC: I’m not seeing past Norma. I will tell you though my screensaver is the Invicta belt and there ain’t a second that goes by looking at the belt that I don’t see myself fighting to the death for it. I hope I won’t be far away from a title shot, but I need to keep performing and winning to earn that spot and when I do, as Muhammad Ali once said,
“Not only be champion of the whole world, better than all of those before me.”
CS: What is your mindset like on the day of the fight? Do you have any superstitions or routines that you have to perform?
JC: Calm and focused. I spend it around my positive corner team and I could be going to war with a bear and I’d be calm, confident and ready.
JC: Not really, I always brush my gum shield the night before. I like to make sure I get a hug off all my team mates when I know I won’t see them until after the fight.
CS: Who usually accompanies you to the cage?
JC: Always my partner, coach, training partner and manager James Doolan. Paul McVeigh usually makes an appearance when he knows there’s an opportunity of getting his Blue Steel pose snapped by a camera within 100 miles. If the fights in the UK, one of my other coaches Guy Ramsay or Garry Christie will be there.
CS: What type of coaching do you prefer from your corners during a fight?
JC: My partner corners me with my other coaches; he knows how I think and how to get me to react. He is the only one who talks. I think this is important as in my earlier fights there has been times when 3 people telling me different things.
JC: I feel confident with my corner team, they’re very experienced. There isn’t anything in MMA they haven’t seen before and I trust them totally. I’ve had people comment on the relationship between me and my corner in several fights, it’s pretty unique but works so well.
CS: What types of activities do you enjoy for fun?
JC: I think training is fun! I’m pretty boring and single minded if I’m not training, I’m sleeping. I do some normal stuff like going to the movies, walking and stuff. I’ll have plenty of time for fun stuff once I’m done fighting.
CS: What helps you to mentally recharge during training camp?
JC: Sleep has a massive part lol. I think I have a good mind set and try to always feed the positives to the negatives. If I have a bad day I’ve got a great team behind me also.
CS: MMA is as much a team sport as it is an individual one. Who would you like to thank?
JC: People don’t realize just how much MMA is a team sport. Thanks to every one on my team especially everyone that helps me prepare for my fights.
JC: DNFT #1 kicking Baws and breaking jaws. The old saying “There is no I in team,” is a true one.