Lost in the hoopla of Anthony Johnson's coming out party in Sweden this past weekend was news that the UFC's international expansion will include two fresh locations in 2015: Krakow, Poland on April 11, and Glasgow, Scotland on July 18. Undefeated women's strawweight Joanne Calderwood is the most accomplished Scottish fighter on the UFC's roster, so it's safe to assume the Glasgow-native will be featured on the latter card once summertime rolls around.
But that doesn't mean she wants to sit around and wait.
"July is like seven months away. I don't even want to wait seven weeks," Calderwood said with a heavy sigh on this week's episode of The MMA Hour. "So I spoke to (UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby, and... I don't know.
"I was kinda getting my hopes up and [now] I don't know if I'm going to get another fight. But all I can do is just keep training and keep my fingers crossed and make sure everyone is harassing them. I was harassing them as well, but, I don't know if they listen to the fighters, but they certainly listen to the fans. So if anyone is listening, get on them, because seven months is far too long."
Calderwood (9-0) entered The Ultimate Fighter 20 as the No. 2 ranked fighter in the house and is currently the No. 6 ranked strawweight according to the UFC's media-generated rankings. She's widely considered to be among the best strikers in the world at the weight class and handily won her UFC debut in December, battering Jewels champion Seo Hee Ham with a barrage of punches, kicks, knees, and elbows to capture a lopsided unanimous decision.
Yet Calderwood, like many within her division, remains without a fight on the books on the UFC's upcoming schedule. And her conversation in Sweden with Shelby did little to yield any answers about when that time may come.
"He just kinda said, like, my record... and, I don't know, maybe you could answer this: is it because I'm undefeated? Because I think there's more girls in the division with a lot more fights, and he said it was my experience, so, I just don't understand," Calderwood said, again sighing heavily.
"He says he's thinking about me and he says that he knows how much I want to fight, and they're just looking for space and looking at the division, and he has to take under consideration my record, and he says commissions won't let me fight some of the girls who are wanting to fight me. So, damnit commissioners."
Though Calderwood is technically undefeated in MMA, her time in the TUF 20 house produced her first loss, albeit an unofficial one, when she submitted to a second-round kimura at the hands of season runner-up Rose Namajunas, so it's not as if Calderwood possesses an aura of invincibility to protect.
One glance at UFC's upcoming schedule paints a starker picture. Over the countless fights and 10 events currently on the books through the end of the April, only three fights feature the strawweights. Aside from March 14's title fight, only one features a match-up between ranked contestants: April's Felice Herrig vs. Paige VanZant contest at UFC on FOX 15.
While Herrig is a veteran of the sport with 15 fights to her résumé, the 20-year-old VanZant is a relative newcomer possessing only a third of Herrig's experience. Nonetheless, VanZant has received a big promotional push from the UFC following her successful debut, and recently VanZant told MMAFighting.com that she wasn't surprised to land a FOX main card fight against Herrig because "we're the hot girls in the sport."
For her part, Calderwood hopes that VanZant's assessment isn't playing a role in her inability to land a fight until July.
"I mean, if that's true, then it's pretty s**t," Calderwood said. "Like, what I was saying about what Sean Shelby was saying about my record: I was looking at Paige's record and Felice has got a ton more experience than her, so how can that happen? But I would hope it's not done on their looks, because it's a sport. At the end of the day, it shouldn't come down to if you're good-looking or not, it should be if you're a good fighter or not.
"I'd quite fancy fighting any of the girls at the top," Calderwood added. "Obviously (Claudia) Gadelha just closely got defeated by Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), so I'd quite happily fight her before (July). Jessica Penne is also up there. I'd fight any of the girls."