JOANNE CALDERWOOD reckons she only knows two other Scottish people in Las Vegas “and neither of them are famous”.

Which made it somewhat frustrating that when the Caledonian clan that was Josh Taylor’s entourage rolled into town for a month recently for the world champion’s undisputed bout, she never once bumped into them.

Granted, Sin City is somewhat bigger than her hometown of Kilmarnock but, still, you would have thought the accents alone would have made Team Taylor hard to miss.

“I was thinking, ‘surely I’m going to meet him’ as I’ve never met Josh before,” she reveals. “But we never saw each other despite being in the same place – it’s crazy.

“I watched the highlights of his fight and I’m really happy for him. It’s awesome that he’s putting Scotland on the map.”

Calderwood has aspirations to do similar. She will leave Vegas this weekend – where she’s been based for the past three years and shares a home with fiancé John Wood and step-son Maverick – and head for Arizona to take part in UFC 263.

The 34 year-old knows that defeating Lauren Murphy should, in theory, give her a crack at flyweight title-holder Valentina Shevchenko. And if she wins that one, Calderwood, like Taylor, will be a world champion.

“You never know what will play out with the UFC,” she warned. “But if I beat Lauren then I don’t see what else could be next. Especially as Valentina has been saying she wants to stay active and fight us all.


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“But Lauren is awesome and tough. I feel that she’s going to bring the type of fight that I love and the fans love. We’re both tough, pale-skinned and ready to bleed in there.”

There will be another Scottish presence at the event in Paul Craig and, despite her hybrid accent, Calderwood hasn’t forgotten her roots.

“Putting Scotland on the map has always been a part of what I’m doing,” she added. “I can remember being a young girl back when I started and there being no other girls and the sport being very, very small. And I’ve seen the growth over the years.

“I just hope that I inspire someone out there – boy or girl – to follow their dreams. It was only a dream for me back then and I can’t believe I’ve got to where I am now. If I can inspire people from Scotland to do whatever they want to do then that would be a goal of mine realised.”

A full house is expected in Arizona and Calderwood hopes to feed off the frenzy.

“I’ve missed the fans so much. We’re entertainers so we need that crowd. Every fight I take a shot and take a hit and I feel the crowd, the energy, and the atmosphere can get me through anything. So it will be completely different with a full house.”

Calderwood comes across as the “loving, caring person” she claims to be, something at odds with a discipline that can be unrestrained in its physical brutality. But she revealed there is a switch inside of her that gets flicked the closer it gets to fight time.

“I don’t like things being too serious beforehand. I feel there’s a lot of negativity that comes with trash talking. And that’s not the type of person I am.

“I’m a loving, caring person most of the time. So, outside of the Octagon I’m not really aggressive that way. I get it, it sells fights.  And if it’s natural it will come. But normally I just try to make a joke about it.


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“The switch inside me that comes on usually when we’ve done the weigh-ins and we’re doing the first stare down. There’s a person in front of me and I’m just looking into them. And then I know, it’s nearly go time.

“Then on fight night when she’s across the Octagon from me I know that she’s coming for what I want. It’s just about staying calm and not getting nervous.”

Life in Vegas is treating her well as she prepares for one of the biggest nights of her career.

“Everything is coming together. I’ve got 14 or 15 female training partners which is amazing. I’ve been looking for that my whole career as I knew it would be very helpful for me to be training with other women. Half of them are in the UFC and they bring the best out of me.

“I’m very happy to have met my fiancé. The whole pandemic has put our wedding on hold as I wanted my family to be here and Scotland’s still quite far behind Las Vegas. I’m holding off just now until the world is back to semi-normality.

“And I love the sunshine – I don’t miss the rain! It rains once a year and that one day I always moan that it reminds me of home. So I’m in a great spot right now.”

Watch UFC 263: ADESANYA vs. VETTORI 2 main card live from 3:00am as well as late prelims, which start at 1:00am, on BT Sport 1, with early prelims live exclusively on Fight Pass from 11pm this Saturday.