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Joanne Calderwood enjoyed punching ‘delusional’ Jessica Eye, talks mid-fight burp

Joanne Calderwood (right) punches Jessica Eye (left) at UFC 257 on Jan. 24, 2021, in Abu Dhabi | Zuffa LLC

There will be plenty for Joanne Calderwood to remember from her trip to Abu Dhabi, most notably an important win over Jessica Eye at UFC 257.

But in between rounds, Calderwood found herself inadvertently creating a viral moment that will go down as one of the more memorable moments of that fight.

Calderwood’s burp might not have been what swung the fight in her favor, but looking back on her unanimous decision victory she can joke about how much it helped.

“I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t say pardon me, but I don’t even remember doing it,” Calderwood told MMA Fighting on What The Heck. “I don’t recall it happening. It was funny that I saw that on Instagram. I was like, oh my gosh, that’s hilarious but also embarrassing.”

“Just burp my way to victory,” she added.

Gastrointestinal happenings aside, Calderwood put on a top-shelf performance, looking all the world like the contender that was scheduled to fight Valentina Shevchenko last June before the bout was postponed due to a Shevchenko injury and eventually canceled. Calderwood later signed on as a short-notice replacement for an ill-fated fight with Jennifer Maia, which Maia won by first-round submission.

That put the pressure on Calderwood to beat Eye if she were to have any chance of getting another shot at Shevchenko. As if that wasn’t enough motivation, Calderwood previously told MMA Fighting that she felt “lucky” to be fighting Eye based on the reactions she’d seen from fans who disliked Eye. The two fighters had previously butted heads over social media after Eye missed weight for a fight with Cynthia Calvillo in June.

So did battling Eye feel as good as Calderwood thought it would be?

“Yeah, it was so good,” Calderwood said. “It’s funny because she said she had no beef, but go back, ‘Are you delusional?’ And I think she is. It’s crazy, there is a lot of stuff she says, but she genuinely believes that she didn’t say it.

“It’s funny. But yeah, it definitely felt good punching her and kicking her in the face.”

The unanimous nod kept Calderwood in the thick of the flyweight title hunt. She’s 4-2 in her previous six, with the two losses coming at the hands of Maia and Katlyn Chookagian, both of whom have already challenged Shevchenko.

Looking back at her win, Calderwood ranks it up among the best in her career, though she admits that there’s some recency bias.

“Probably because it’s fresh in my memory, I’m sure if we go back and watch some of my old fights—I think that was my 40th professional fight, so there’s a lot of footage to go through that for sure there’s been better performances in there I would say,” Calderwood said. “But this one’s fresh in everyone’s mind, so let’s just go with it. And it was a good opponent to beat, I’m sure everyone was on my side for that.”

With UFC gold still on her mind, Calderwood was asked if to predict—true or false—whether she expects to be fighting for (and burping her way to) the title in 2021.

“True,” Calderwood said. “It’s going to happen. I’m just gonna make a burp right now. (burps) There we go. My mom’s gonna kill me.”

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