Taking a fight at the last minute was a huge risk for Joanne Calderwood, who knew anything could happen. Additionally, fighting a contender was something that could have been a make or break moment for Jennifer Maia.
At UFC on ESPN+ 31, Maia was able to make quick work of “Jo Jo”, forcing her to tap out to the armbar. Not only did she earn a “Performance of the Night” bonus, but she may have also earned a title opportunity.
During the UFC on ESPN+ 31 post-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White discussed the future of the flyweight division. While champion Valentina Shevchenko heals from an injury, she may have found a new opponent. White stated that it would make sense for Maia to earn a title shot. He also commended Calderwood for taking a last-minute fight.
“Yeah, that’s the fight,” said White regarding Maia v. Shevchenko, via MMA Fighting. “I have a lot of respect for [Joanne Calderwood], she’s been working hard, taking her career very serious and has been back on track since she moved to Vegas. Jennifer looked damn good tonight so it makes sense for her and Valentina to fight.”
Maia (18-6-1) was supposed to face Viviane Araujo before the latter tested positive for COVID-19. A former Invicta FC Flyweight Champion, Maia joined the UFC in 2018. She is 3-2 with the promotion and 3-1 in her last four fights.
Since returning to flyweight while with the UFC, Shevchenko has been unstoppable. She is on a five-fight win streak and has defended the UFC Flyweight Title three times. She welcomed the challenge of Maia as an opponent, stating “See you soon” on Twitter.
See you soon Jennifer Maia 👊🏻
— Valentina Shevchenko (@BulletValentina) August 2, 2020
Calderwood is now 2-2 in her last four fights. She was ranked third in the UFC’s flyweight rankings at the time of the fight. Maia is ranked sixth and could enter the top five by this week. As far as how she feels heading into a potential bout, Maia is prepared for whatever comes her way.
“She’s (Shevchenko) very good everywhere but we’re going to find out when we fight,” Maia stated. ”I’m feeling very good, I’m feeling ready and we’re going to find out.”