Joanne Calderwood confident of finally earning title shot with UFC 263 win

Joanne Calderwood believes victory over Lauren Murphy at UFC 263 will earn her a shot at the flyweight title later this year.

The Scottish fighter was scheduled to fight for the belt last summer but dominant champion Valentina Shevchenko pulled out injured.

And after then losing to Jennifer Maia in her next bout after that, Calderwood put herself back in the title frame with victory over Jessica Eye.

The Scot is now confident a win over Murphy will see her come full circle.

"She's awesome, she's very tough," Calderwood said of her opponent. "I feel like she's going to bring the type of fight that I love, and the fans love.

"We're both tough, pale-skinned but ready to bleed in there.

"I hope I can get that fight," she told Mirror Fighting. "You never know what will play out with the UFC but I think if I beat Lauren she was pretty vocal about being next.

"She's on a tear right now so I think if I go and put on a good performance I can't see what else would be next, epecially with Valentia saying she wants to stay active and fight as well."

Calderwood is a fans' favourite, and currently sits at No.6 in the rankings, although Shevchenko has beaten three of the contenders ahead of her, and has yet to face the Scot or Murphy.

And she shares this weekend's card with another Brit who believes that he's one fight from a belt in Leon Edwards, who takes on Nate Diaz in an unprecedented five-round bout in the third from last contest of the evening.

But Calderwood insists she is not in a competition with Edwards to win gold – which would be only the second time a British fighter has become UFC champion after Michael Bisping in 2016.

"I love Leon," she added. "But I don't think we're competing like that because we're on our own journeys and I think we'll both get there.

"I'm a big fan of his and if he gets there first so be it, but his division, I don't know if the word is complicated, but it is compared to my division where if I win on Saturday I could probably sneak in there."

Calderwood and Edwards are also joined by Scot Paul Craig on the main card, and Londoner Darren Stewart on the prelims, facing Jamahal Hill and Eryk Anders respectively in the light-heavyweight division.

UFC 263 begins at 1am UK time on Sunday morning/Saturday evening from the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, and will broadcast live on BT Sport 1.

Source: Read Full Article