UFC Columbus: Joanne Wood not feeling under added pressure after skid and still has title hopes ahead of Grasso clash

JOANNE WOOD isn’t feeling any additional pressure ahead of her first outing of the year – despite her recent skid. 

The Scottish flyweight returns to the cage early on Sunday morning in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 205 in Columbus, Ohio. 



Wood – a veteran of 11 octagon fights – enters her maiden bout of the year against Mexico’s Alexa Grasso on the back of consecutive losses to divisional standouts Lauren Murphy and Talia Santos. 

But those defeats aren’t weighing heavy on the mind of JoJo, who told SunSport: “I don’t want to put that extra pressure on myself. 

“I just want to see it as another fight and I’m going to go in there and do my best. 

“I’ve prepared the best I could, so I’m just going to go in there with that in the back of my mind and have a good performance and put on a good performance for the fans.”

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She added: “I’m a fighter at heart, so I’m just going to treat it as any other fight and give it my all.”

A win over the boxing-heavy Grasso would breathe new life into Calderwood’s hopes of becoming Scotland’s first UFC champion. 

The 35-year-old said: “That’s always been my goal. I’ve got there, nearly, a couple of times.

“So I think it’s definitely going to be there in the future, it just hasn’t happened yet. 

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“Obviously, I have to get back into the win column. But the division is so shallow and I’ve not fought Valentina [Shevchenko] yet, which is a good thing to stand on. 

“I think definitely in the future. But like I said, I have to get back in the win column so I have a case [to make].”

The stylistic match-up between herself and Grasso is something Wood is also relishing. 

The Muay Thai specialist said: “ I think this is going to be an exciting match-up with Alexa.

"She’s also a striker, so I feel like it’s going to be fireworks. 

“I’m looking forward to that challenge and also she’s the first strawweight coming up, so I’m looking forward to seeing that.

“Most of the flyweights I’ve fought have been coming down from bantamweight, so there’s always been a strength advantage there.

“So this is going to be like to fellow strawweights fighting each other. 

“So I’m excited for that aspect [of the fight].”

Wood is hoping an impressive performance in Columbus will convince UFC president Dana White to bring the promotion back to Scotland later this year. 

She said: “After the London card, I definitely think that it puts me in a good place to ask Dana for a Scotland card.”

Wood, however, isn’t getting too far ahead of herself, saying: “I’m not taking anything for granted, it’s an MMA fight. 

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“She’s better well-rounded and I know she’ll be doing what she can to win. And also, I’m going in [to the fight] with that goal as well. 

“I’m expecting it to maybe go to the ground, but I’m hoping it doesn’t.”

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