JoJo Opens Up on Move to Flyweight: ‘The UFC PI Saved My Career’

JoJo Opens Up on Move to Flyweight: ‘The UFC PI Saved My Career’

By Keith Turrell 

Joanne ‘JoJo’ Calderwood is currently in the last stages of her fight camp as she prepares to take on Ariane Lipski on the inaugural UFC ESPN card which takes place in Brooklyn on January 19th.

This past Monday she appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show to discuss the fight, her move to Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas and how the UFC Performance Institute has helped her move to the flyweight division, beginning a new chapter in her career.

Calderwood touched on her excitement at appearing on ESPN for the first time before opening up about her change in camp and relationship with Syndicate head coach John Wood:

“I had worked on a lot of stuff before coming here and I feel like I had started loving myself and I sorted a lot of stuff out. Now I’m like, everything that happened before put me on the path to come here and when I came here everything started to fall into place. Yeah, I’m really happy and yeah, I’m in love.”

Seemingly well settled in Nevada she is seeking residency in the United States and part of the benefits of being in the home of the UFC is her close proximity to the UFC Performance Institute which she describes as only a “five-minute drive” from where she’s currently training.

The UFC PI is based in the UFC’s corporate headquarters in Las Vegas and offers a range of services for contracted athletes free of charge, including full training and recovery facilities as well as complete support with weight cuts both nutritionally and in terms of conditioning.
JoJo credits the work of the PI in helping her to move to her more natural weight division of flyweight and boosting her performance as shown in her submission victory over Kalindra Faria in August of 2018:

“I feel like the PI has saved my career because I’ve come here and they’ve told me that

“I’m definitely in the flyweight division. I’m guessing If I came here and I was still stuck in the strawweight division they would help me to be a strawweight fighter. I’ve came here and they’ve told me ‘yep, you’re definitely a flyweight fighter and this is the way we’re going to go about your camp, your nutrition and blah blah.'”

“I’m really grateful for that because before I was just winging it and I was going to whoever could help me. Towards the end of my career I was actually trying to pay people to give me a plan, I probably should have done it earlier but you know, money’s tight when you’re a fighter. You don’t feel like you deserve that kind of investment in yourself.”

Calderwood had struggled to find the right home before her move to Syndicate and results had shown it. She had lost two in a row at strawweight to soon to be title challenger Jessica Andrade and Cynthia Calvillo respectively before finding a new lease of life in new friendships and relationships in Las Vegas, both professional and personal. Now that the UFC has added a flyweight division for women and the champion is known we are seeing the rankings begin to take shape and if JoJo can put a run of form together it’s not hard to see her pushing for a title shot in the near future.

There’s no doubt there’s a rediscovered focus in her game:

“I’ve got so much confidence behind me and I believe in myself. Before I was still performing, I was still a good fighter but now everything is together and I’m acting like a true professional, training like a true professional and there’s no excuses. I just believe that everything’s going to be getting better and the only way is up now.”

“My last weight cut was amazing, I was not even stressing about it. It was a big, big help”

Joanne Calderwood (12-3) takes on UFC newcomer Ariane Lipski (11-3) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday, February 19th. The event is live on ESPN and ESPN+ for US viewers and on BT Sport in the United Kingdom.


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