Cynthia Calvillo won in her return to the Octagon after nearly a year away. Yet, she can’t really let herself enjoy it.
The UFC women’s strawweight fighter told Luke Thomas on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that she doesn’t feel good about how things went down, despite beating Poliana Botelho by first-round submission Saturday night at UFC Argentina. Calvillo missed weight by two pounds Friday and she didn’t want any asterisks next to this win.
“It was very emotional for me,” Calvillo said of coming back. “I went through a lot of shit — a lot of shit to get to this day. I don’t like leaving any room for excuses and that whole weight cut thing, even though I had no control of it … and that’s why I was just real embarrassed to get on that scale. But that took a lot away from it. I just want to get back. I want to get back and continue to prove myself. I know I belong at the top of the division, but I just don’t want to give anybody room to say anything about it. I want to go in there and win my fight and have not one person say shit about how, ‘Oh, you won that fight because you missed weight and you’re a fat ass.’ Just let me have it. I f*cking worked my ass off.
“Not feeling too great about it right now, but I just need another fight and come back and not give people another reason to talk shit.”
Calvillo said she got her period during fight week for the first time in Buenos Aires. She said she was 118 pounds when she woke up Friday morning and could not sweat even an ounce to make 116 in time for weigh-ins. Calvillo said she and her Lockhart & Leith nutrition team were prepared for such a situation, but her body stopped responding.
This was Calvillo’s first fight since a loss to Carla Esparza at UFC 219 last December. Calvillo, 31, was suspended nine months by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) for failing a drug test for cannabis in relation to that bout.
“It was even tough for me to enjoy [Saturday] night’s win just because of everything that happened,” Calvillo said. “I had such a tough year and I really wanted to prove myself and come back. I felt like me getting this win would have definitely turned this whole year back around. But then I missed weight and that was something completely out of my control what happened. I’m really bummed out about that. I was super bummed out. I feel like I haven’t been really too happy with my win, just because of that.
“It’s not so much the errors. We prepared for it, so right now I’m not really feeling the best. I wish I did. I wish I could have been like, this made it all better, everything happens for a reason. But I feel like I need to get back up there again and re-prove myself. I don’t know.”
To make matters worse, Calvillo looked shaky and off balance as she was about to get on the scale Friday morning. Video of the situation went viral and many criticized the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) for letting her fight just a day after being in that kind of condition. Calvillo said that it was nowhere near as bad as it might have looked and she had other reasons for looking off balance.
“It looked even worse, because I get on the scale and I have my hands down,” Calvillo said. “Two of the women that were holding the [curtain] for me weren’t tall enough, so when I stand up they said put your hands up. If I would have done that, my boobs would have showed. So I went down and was like, ‘no.’ And it looked like I was about to faint. So it just made it look even more worse. My face looked horrible, because I was embarrassed.
“If I was really that messed up, the doctors would have never cleared me. Everybody did what they were supposed to do. I just kept having all this bad luck. It just looks horrible. I have all these people, like, ‘Hey you, fat ass,’ ‘you only won this fight because of this’ and blah blah blah. ‘Be a professional, you just got suspended, you’re a pot head, you can’t even make weight.’ It’s just like Jesus. I just want to put all this shit behind me and it’s like all these little things keep happening.”
Calvillo, 31, said she’d like a quick turnaround and proposed a fight at UFC 233 on Jan. 26 in Anaheim, Calif. The Team Alpha Male product said she’d like to face Michelle Waterson, whom she said she signed to fight before the suspension.
“Earlier in the year, I had signed a contract against ‘Karate Hottie’ and it was the same day that I found out about my suspension, so we had to cancel the fight,” Calvillo said. “I signed that contract, she signed the contract, so hopefully we can run it now. She just came off a win over Felice Herrig, I just had this win. I feel like we can make that matchup happen and start the year off there.”
Calvillo (7-1) was ranked No. 6 in the UFC women’s strawweight contender rankings before the Esparza loss and No. 9 prior to the suspension. She wasn’t ranked at all heading into the bout with Botelho, but should be back there this week.
Maybe a spot back on that list will be some solace for Calvillo. But in the immediate aftermath of a very impressive win, the California native wasn’t feeling too great about how everything went down. Calvillo said she would consider a move to flyweight in the future.
“Like Jesus, give me a break,” Calvillo said. “I lost that [Esparza] fight, it was hard. I get the suspension. I followed all the rules and I still got screwed on it. People are still looking down on me. I wanted to get it back. I wanted to get it back for my family, for my coaches. And then this shit happens — more bad luck. It’s just kind of all of that. It definitely left a bad taste in my mouth.”