Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) already has a backup plan in place for Valentina Shevchenko's women's flyweight title defense against Jessica Eye at UFC 238 this June.
According to streaking contender Joanne Calderwood, who is scheduled to fight Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 238, UFC president Dana White has told her to be ready to step in should something happen to "Bullet" or "Evil."
“I saw Dana at the (UFC’s Performance Institute) and he told me that I should be ready, and I said, ‘I’m already ready,’” Calderwood told MMA Junkie earlier today (Fri., Mar. 15, 2019) in London, England. “And I’m going to be hitting that weight – 125, championship weight – and just be training for a five-round fight. Because you just never know, especially in this sport – it’s such a crazy one. So I’m definitely going to be ready.”
Calderwood, 32, has won both of her flyweight bouts since returning to the division last August, defeating rising contenders Kalindra Faria and Ariane Lipski in the process. Two wins usually doesn't lead to a title opportunity in most UFC weight classes, but "JoJo" is already one of the most recognizable names on the newly-minted flyweight roster so it makes sense.
After all, Calderwood has seemingly elevated her game to the next level at 125 pounds compared to her up-and-down stint as a UFC strawweight, in which she posted a 2-3 record including a botched weight cut in 2017.
“In any fight, you could face the opponent changing the week of or even the day before,” Calderwood said. “So I think it’s good to always have your eye on your other opponents, especially people that are on your card.”
Shevchenko, who will defend her flyweight title for the first time at UFC 238, won the belt with a unanimous decision win over former UFC women's strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 this past December. As for Eye, she locked down her first ever UFC title shot after winning all three of her fights since returning to 125 pounds a little over a year ago.
Hopefully, Shevchenko vs. Eye goes on as planned, but Calderwood would make for a nice replacement should a derailment occur.
UFC 238 will go down on June 8 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside United Center in Chicago, Ill., and currently has only three fights scheduled.
For more UFC 238 fight card news click here.