Invicta Alumni, TUF Strawweight: Joanne Calderwood
I've been following JoJo Calderwood since I've been working with UFC Knockout Art's Geo Thomson (he's a big fan and supporter). Closely following Invicta Fighting Championships, I always got excited when I seen JoJo on an Invicta card knowing I would get to see her in action on PPV. Joanne Calderwood boasts a current record of a perfect 8-0 in her professional career and despite the fact she is extremely soft-spoken and usually always smiling, you do NOT want to be on the receiving end of her vicious Muay Thai (those knees look painful!)! JoJo has made an impressive career thus far, and now she is a member of the TUF20 cast for the UFC's first Strawweight Championship and could very well be walking away with that gold!
Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up and what was life like growing up? (Family, school, friends)
I grew up in a town called Kilmarnock. Life was good growing up, I have a loving mum, an awesome sister that was too easy too scare with hiding under her bed at night, and a little brother that I got to start what would later be my career in Muay Thai with.
Were you involved in any sports as a youth in or outside of school?
Yip, all my life and it was always outside of school as Scotland's schools don't really promote sports. I done gymnastics, then swimming and then it was in to Muay Thai.
What is your favorite child-hood memory?
Too many to mention… I'll give you one.
Being at the top of a cliff with my sister and brother on holiday and we were doing Cliff jumping. We were at a really high one and we were trying to put it off and arguing who should go first for like 30 mins… Next thing, all me and my brother feel, is my sister running past and jumps in and we follow with amaze. We were like, "that was awesome Jemma! What made you do it?" …She said, "I really needed a pee!" …haha, me and my brother couldn't get out quick enough.
Any interesting child-hood stories and/or fun facts?
Also too many to mention… Me and my little brother were practicing holding up a pillow and punching it and one of the times he pulled it down and I cracked the door frame! Pretty funny now and it always makes me laugh, it's something I would have thought of doing!
Getting involved in MMA:
How did you get involved?
Wanted to try it when I wasn't busy in Thai, it's all under the same roof at the Griphouse, so it was just a matter of going to the next room.
What discipline did you begin with and care to share a bit about your early experiences learning the sport(s)?
Muay Thai. My first memory of an inter club was, my coach at the time knocked someone out with a head kick, I was like, "Wow, I wanna do that!" …ha.
At what point did you know you were ready to step in the cage for the first time?
When my coaches told me. Work hard in silence and the rest will take care of itself.
When the cage locked behind you in your first fight, can you recall what what through your mind? How did your first fight turn out?
Aye it's show time, time to let shit go and do what I love. My first fight was successful and I was was hooked in the dark side!
What are 3 things you've learned while being involved in this sport?
You don't have to be loud to be heard
Respect and be grateful for the guys helping me through training.
It's what I really love and the one thing that clicks with me.
What gym are you currently fighting out of?
What is your current record (ammy/pro) and at what weight?
Proffesional, 8-0. Strawweight – 115lbs.
Do you currently have a nickname in this sport? If so, what is it and why?
Not really got one. I think there is a few floating around though.
If you could improve one aspect of your game, what would it be and why?
All of it, as soon as you stop improving anywhere your dead in there.
What is your most memorable experience as an MMA fighter?
When Invicta gave me my chance, without knowing much about me and only having 3 fights under my belt …and not to mention flying me over from Scotland!
Any interesting stories to share or learning experiences whilst fighting you would like to share?
I think this is really interesting and it's something I apply to my mental strength….
At a certain point, if he’s going to get to the top of the boxing profession, a fighter has to learn the difference between the truth and a lie. The lie is thinking that submission is an acceptable option. The truth is that if you give up, afterwards you’ll realise that any of those punches that you thought you couldn’t deal with, or those rough moments you didn’t think you could make it through, were just moments. Enduring them is not nearly as tough as having to deal with the next day and the next month and the next year, knowing that you quit, that you failed, that you submitted. It’s a trainer’s job to make a fighter understand that difference, that the parts of a fight that are urgent last only seconds; seconds during which you have to stave off the convenient excuse – “I’m too tired” or “I hurt too much” or “I can’t do this” or even simply “I’m not going to deal with this”. Sometimes it just comes down to not floating – just being there and understanding that if you give in , you’ll hurt more tomorrow. Maybe there is no more important lesson to learn than that.
If you could offer one bit of advice to an aspiring fighter what would it be?
Be yourself and enjoy every minute of it.
Would you like to give a shout out to any sponsors individuals who have supported you?
Please check them out! They are genuine people with great businesses. I better mention Mano Management… even though they give me a hard time daily, I know I'm their princess deep down 😉
What are your goals for the future in the sport?
To always perform better than I did in my last fight. To be at the top of the strawweights with the UFC belt!
What are your thoughts on the current state of the sport and where it's headed?
Fastest growing sport, and I think it will keep growing… but to be honest, I did do it and I'd still do it if it wasn't on the platform it is on.
If you could change one thing in the sport, what would it be?
Drug use. If you can't be the best with your own natural abilities, hard work and determination, you don't deserve the reward of being the best!
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Depends how my body is then 😉 …but, I'll still be involved in the sport, that's for sure!
Favorite type of Music:
Humble indie music
Million Dollar Baby
Favorite TV Show:
Eastbound and Down
Too many but here's one of the top ones:
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars"
Do you have any children? Do you plan on having any/more?:
No I don't and maybe one day. It's not something I've thought about as I'm pretty single minded right now.
Best day of your life:
Every day is blessed I wake up and get to do what I love.
Interesting/Unknown Fact about yourself:
I burp a lot
Who is your favorite super hero and why?
Batman, he doesn't need super powers to be a bad ass and he's my man I better say him.