Joanne Calderwood entered the TUF house in 2014 as one of the favorites to win the inaugural UFC women's strawweight title. But things haven't really gone her way over the last couple of years, despite a 2-1official record in the octagon. Rose Namajunas upset her in the house, and an upset loss to Maryna Moroz have been big setbacks on Calderwood's rise to the top.
On this week's edition of The MMA Hour, Jojo explained exactly what has led to her issues - namely, a relationship gone bad that forced her away from her gym, and injuries (transcribed by MMA Fighting):
"I think everyone knows I had been in a relationship with my head coach for like seven years. We've been separated for a few years now, but at the same time we were still trying to work together. And then we weren't working together. Like, four weeks before my Scotland fight, there was completely going to be no working together, so that was hard for me to move on with my career because I've always had someone there telling me I should do this and do almost everything. So I just felt like I needed a new team around me.
"Everyone at Griphouse understood and everyone wants me to do well over here. I'm sure there was a few people who thought it was a bit sh*t and stuff, but at the end of the day, I've learned I have to do what's best for my career. It wasn't (good for me to be there) at that time, and even now it's not good. I need to be the best, and to be the best you need to have the best people around you."
"This was my first, kind of, major injury," Calderwood said. "All the things were going on, so this was kind of just like a cherry on the top. I've been going in a spiral, being off and then something happens and going down. I've managed to do this vicious circle. ... It's sh*t talking about it. I felt like I had let a lot of people down, not only myself, but my fans and everyone who was so excited about the fight. I was like, I've blown this amazing opportunity."
Calderwood is now fighting out of Tri-Star in Montreal, and feels like she belongs there. She will take on Valerie Letourneau in the first women's flyweight bout ever in the promotion's history in Ottawa next month, and really feels like she's back on the right path for success:
"The past two years since I came out of the TUF house, it's just been one thing after another," Calderwood said. "But now everything is good and I'm focusing on the future. I had a few counseling sessions and stuff, and I think that's done me well because I was always thinking about the past and I was always thinking about what people were saying, that kind of stuff. It really hurt me that I couldn't be part of the team anymore, and yeah, you know what it's like. Everyone's got their sh*t to deal with, but now I just want to concentrate on the future.
"Everything happens for a reason. It just took me longer than I wanted to, and I took obviously a loss in a stupid fight. My last fight, I was a bit kind of over-keen and extra maddy, as one of the guys says at the gym, so obviously you have to be smart in this game and I don't want to do that again. But everything happens for a reason. Everything is looking up now."