Bec Rawlings: “It’ll be nice to steal JoJo’s soul in front of her countrymen”

Fightland Blog

By Peter Carroll

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Bec Rawlings has taken a lot of confidence from claiming her first UFC win in front of her Australian home crowd last month. Taking a first round submission win over Lisa Ellis via rear naked choke, the TUF contestant believes it’s just what she needed having been granted a quick turnaround with her July 18 meeting with Joanne Calderwood in Glasgow.

“I’ve taken a lot of confidence from that win,” said the Australian strawweight. “To finish my opponent so quickly and to do it that fashion definitely gave me a boost. I’m glad that I’ve got such a quick turnaround and I hope I can pull off a big upset and finish this fight in the first round too.”

Rawlings didn’t pull any punches when it came to Calderwood. Despite acknowledging the Scot as a “highly skilled fighter”, Rawlings claimed that Calderwood is “one-dimensional” and that she has failed to improve her skillset since taking her spot on the UFC roster.

“I think Jojo is a highly skilled fighter. You cannot let her do what she wants to do or she’ll have an easy night. Believe me, I have no intentions of sitting back and letting her tee off on me.

“Style-wise, I think I’m very dangerous for JoJo. I’m going to be in her face. I’m going to be constantly punching her in the face and letting her know that she’s in a fight. This will not be a point-striking competition. I’m going in there to put her asleep either by knockout or submission. No matter where the fight goes I think I can win it.

“I’m extremely confident in my camp, in my skills and how I have evolved as a fighter. Even over the last few months I’ve seen massive improvements, I’m in the gym every single day. When you look at Joanne, I don’t think people can say that she has evolved as much as me.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Zuffa LLC

“She’s one-dimensional. She hasn’t really embraced the grind that comes along with transitioning to MMA. She hasn’t really evolved or improved her skillset from what I can see. She always seems to focus on her striking so I’m very confident if the fights hits the mat,” she insisted.

Maryna Moroz’s first round armbar victory over Calderwood at UFC’s first Polish event back in April sent shockwaves through the strawweight division. Calderwood had almost been guaranteed a title shot with Joanna Jedrzejczyk if she had of taken a victory on the night.

Rawlings maintained that Calderwood citing “personal issues” as one of the factors in the defeat was simply an excuse, and fighters making excuses for defeats is something that “doesn’t sit well” with the Australian. Given that ‘JoJo’ didn’t react well to Moroz’s aggressive style on the night, Rawlings is confident that she will match up very well with the hometown fighter in Glasgow.

“I think it’s a hole in JoJo’s game, she doesn’t like people being aggressive,” she explained. “I don’t know if she’s worked on that. A few articles came out after that fight saying that she had a few personal issues, she said she wasn’t really mentally there. Someone who makes excuses like that after every loss doesn’t sit well with me.

“It says a lot about a fighter when they have to make excuses like that rather than accepting that they just weren’t the better person that night. She had another excuse for when she lost to Rose on The Ultimate Fighter, she said it was because she didn’t have her coaching staff with her. She said she had been in the back preparing by herself, but we were all in the same boat as her. Based on the Moroz fight, I think my aggression is going to play a huge part in how this fight goes.”

Considering the passionate crowd that is expected to greet her in Glasgow, Rawlings believes that she will relish the opportunity to upset the Scottish fans and declared that she will “steal Jojo’s soul in front of her countrymen”.

“I actually prefer that kind of atmosphere. I like when they don’t support me—I do better in chaos. Having negative energy all around me like that kind of drives me and motivates me to hurt my opponent more.  It doesn’t matter where the fight is or what show it’s on—the opponent is always in front of me and that’s always going to be my target. The crowd won’t be a factor once I get in there. It’ll be nice to steal JoJo’s soul in front of her countrymen. That’s going to be very satisfying.”

Underlining her perceived advantage in the submission stakes, Rawlings is unsure of where a win over Calderwood will put her in the strawweight ranks, asserting “no matter who I beat people will always have excuses to say I’m shit”.

“I definitely think I can submit her. It’s hard to know what a win will do for me because I don’t know where I stand and I don’t know where Jojo stands in the eyes of the UFC. It will be a big win for me but no matter who I beat people will always have excuses to say I’m shit. I’m not even thinking about where the win will put me.”


Check out this related story:

Calderwood Is Calm in Krakow amid Talk of Titles and Homecoming