Joanne Calderwood could be one fight away from competing for the flyweight title with a win over Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 238, but the Scot admitted that social media can still have an impact on her mental state as she approaches a contest.
Calderwood put on a dominant display against highly touted prospect and former KSW champion Ariane Lipski to ascend the rankings in her last outing, but revealed that she was slightly overwhelmed by the online endorsements the Brazilian received ahead of their January meeting.
“I’m always looking for a top challenge, but it’s crazy, this whole game is a mental clusterf*ck,” Calderwood explained when considering her last bout with Lipski.
“She was coming in with a lot of hype. It’s just crazy what social media can do. I even bought into it. On fight week, I was like, ‘Oh shit! Maybe this girl is really legit,’ and then I just said, ‘No, I’m not going to feed into that.’ I just believed in myself and believed in all of my experience, but it’s crazy how much social media and the fans can pull you apart over someone’s hype. I just went out and did my job. I was believing in myself and I really feel as though I wasn’t even one hundred percent going into that fight and I still put on a dominant performance.”
A decorated striker before transitioning to MMA, Calderwood was happy that she could outstrike “The Violence Queen”, but was even more satisfied with being able to show off some new wrinkles in her grappling game over the 15-minute bout.
“Obviously I wanted to stand with her, and I showed that I could stand with her, but I wanted to show that, as a mixed martial artist, I’m evolving and my all-round game is getting better.”
Even though online pressure will become more prominent as she moves towards title contention, Calderwood believes she’s learned from the experience.
“People say it never gets any easier and that’s the truth. If anything, it gets harder, especially the pressure that we’re under. Each level you go up the pressure gets a little bit harder. It’s actually about staying calm, believing in yourself and not buying into anyone else’s opinions. It’s about being positive and believing in yourself,” she said.
Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The Joanne Calderwood interview begins at 19:45.