26 year old Joanne Calderwood is a strawweight (115lbs) fighter, fighting out of Dinky Ninjas/The Griphouse Glasgow. She has an undefeated MMA record of 4-0 and also brings to the cage an amazing 19-2 record in Muay Thai.
After fighting on the On Top promotion here in the UK, Super Fight League in India and most recently in America with Invicta, she is quickly becoming a household name to MMA fans. With her aggressive style of, in her words ‘winging it’, she brings it all to the cage with 3 of 4 wins coming from T/KO as proof of that.
We managed to grab a few words from ‘Jo Jo’ – in an interview that actually made me chuckle a few times reading it myself. Here’s what she had to say;
You train at Dinky Ninjas, which I must say is probably the best fight team name EVER (laughs), what’s it like training down there?
Every day you are ‘kicking baws and breaking jaws’ but having the best time doing so. The dinky ninjas are like a big family we train so hard but we have a laugh along the way. If you have a bad day they will always be there to help you through it or to slag you through it (laughs).
A few of the team have fights coming up, how involved in their preparation are you?
As I’m the smallest, although Paul is catching up, I’m usually the one that gets handed the stop watch for the likes of team rounds which is a tad shit because I want to be in there helping the guys, getting a free hit in would be handy too but if its helping the team I’ll do it no questions asked.
The team are doing great this year and with another 5 big fights coming up our year is going to finish with a bang too.
Before fights is it hard to find training partners?
Not really because I have a gym full of great Thai fighters, wrestlers and BJJ competitors and that’s not to mention the MMA fight team. If I had the choice of going training somewhere else where I could get people the same weight etc I would maybe go for a few weeks but I love my training partners and they are the reason I’m doing okay and loving my journey.
All of your fights have been TKO finishes or decision wins, what is your background because I have seen that you fight some stand up fights outside of MMA?
My background is Muay Thai, I’ve had 21 fights and I’m a current world, European and British champion. But when I fight MMA I don’t go in and only look to use my Muay Thai experience I look to use my new tools I want to be known as an MMA fighter not just a stand up fighter.
Your last fight was your first in Invicta, do you remember when you was told they had an interest in you? How did you feel being told?
Yeah I read on twitter Shannon Knapp, the boss, told me she liked my fight in India and that I was to contact the matchmaker, which I did within 10 seconds (Maybe l harassed her a little too). It felt great I’ve always wanted to fight in America, there are so many amazing fighters out there and to have a promotion like Invicta believing in me and want me on their show was pretty damn amazing!
So your first fight on the biggest womens MMA show went to plan, showing off your stand up once again, finishing Ashley Cummins with a knee to the body, can you assess the performance?
I was really nervous for this fight as I didn’t have the best fight camp for it, felt myself losing it a few times in training getting frustrated etc which I never get in training. I think it was down to the fact that I had a really hard Thai fight camp and went straight into another one for this fight. But anyway I was going into this fight regardless and was determined to win no excuses, I remember before I went out to the cage, James (Doolan) said to me “remember computer game” l knew it was going to be okay from then.
It’s now been announced that you are to take on Bec Hyatt at Invicta 4, who goes by the name of “Rowdy” – do you know much about her and her style?
Originally I was a bit surprised that she was getting her fans to say they wanted to see her vs me on Invicta, I knew why she was doing it though to get her foot in the door and now she’s got to prove that she’s at Invicta’s level. From what I’ve seen she’s pretty wild, looks like she likes to fight and put on a show which will be great, definitely FOTN all over it.
You are now in the top 10 in the world, does rankings and stuff mean much to you or do you just fight whoever is put in front of you?
They mean more to me than the Thai ones because I have been trying to fight the UK number one for about 3 years now and it’s never happened yet she is still number one, in MMA it doesn’t seem to be like that and they are being updated monthly. It is pretty cool to say I’m in top ten but I won’t stop till I get to the top and even then I’ll be trying even harder.
Women’s MMA seems to be getting bigger and bigger by the day, how far do you think we are away from the UFC having a women’s division?
I think it’s not as far away as people think, Dana White’s mentioned it a few times now, there’s obviously a market there for it and the UFC is run by smart business men who can supply that market. It’s going to happen sooner rather than later.
There is that stigma of women always being sexualised within the sport, for example people claimed that Ronda Rousey only got her title shot as quickly as she did because she is good looking, do you think people are starting to see past that and focussing on the skill level of the fighters more? or do you think that in a male dominated sport, it will never change?
I think you’ll always get negative comments towards it, but I only concentrate on the positives. It’s not Ronda’s fault that she’s good looking and happens to be an awesome fighter.
Lastly why do you fight? What motivates you?
I ask myself this every time I fight then I look around at my team mates and remember that I’m in the gym with these guys pushing me and believing in me, or go on Twitter/Facebook and look at my support and that alone is enough. Though it could also be because I’m slightly mental and have anger issues that I tunnel in to training and competing.
Any people to thank?
Thanks for the interview, thanks to my sponsors, the Griphouse gym, physio effect, funky gums, STARK, devils own and SAS nutrition
Shout out to my brothers…..honk honk!