Why Did Joanne Calderwood Decide To Not Wait For Valentina Shevchenko?

A fighter replacing another one is not uncommon. When one is in line to earn a title opportunity, however, rarely do they risk their position in the sport. For Joanne Calderwood, it is just another day.

It was recently reported that Calderwood (14-4) will be competing at UFC on ESPN+ 31 on August 1. She will face off against Jennifer Maia, replacing Viviane Araujo, who tested positive for COVID-19. Calderwood is ranked third in the UFC’s flyweight rankings and was set to face off against UFC Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko before the latter had to back out due to an injury.

Why would someone take a fight against a top ten fighter like Maia? On her Instagram, Calderwood was able to give her take on the situation.

“With this sport you got to be ready for anything…I got word that Valentina pushed the date of her return back again and I made the decision to take a fight. God is good the next day I got offered this one, super excited because I was ready and I am still ready.

“We all take risks, and the risk waiting till the end of the year or whenever the champ does decide to come back is one I don’t want to take. “I’m a peacock, you gotta let me fly!”

Calderwood is 3-1 in her last four fights. After losing to Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 238, “JoJo” beat Andrea Lee via split decision back in September at UFC 242. Maia (17-6-1) had her two-fight win streak snapped by Chookagian back in November at UFC 244. The 31-year-old has missed weight the past two fights, resulting in catchweight bouts being performed.

UFC on ESPN+ 31 will be taking place inside the UFC’s APEX Center in Las Vegas. The new main event will be Derek Brunson v. Edmen Shahbazyan after Irene Aldana had to back out of her main event fight against Holly Holm.

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