To be a main event or co-main event calibre performer within the Ultimate Fighting Championship, you need to possess a variety of skills: pace, power, and a drawing ability that allows fans to resonate with you as a person.
In the instance of these four men and women, they most certainly proved themselves when the spotlight came down on them in Glasgow.
In the second part of our series on the festivities of UFC Glasgow, we’re going to run down what it was like to chat to all four main headliners of the evening – Gunnar Nelson, Santiago Ponzinibbio, Joanne Calderwood and Cynthia Calvillo.
Four mixed martial artists who, whilst not being at the top of their field, are most certainly on the rise despite the fact that 50% of them came up short at The SSE Hydro.
But before we talk about that we’ll focus on the special guest of the Ultimate Media Day. It was a man who is widely associated with one of the biggest names in sport today, and someone who isn’t shy to give his honest opinion when called upon – we are, of course, referring to Conor McGregor’s MMA coach John Kavanagh.
The difficult thing for John, as we can imagine, was the parade of questions that he received about The Notorious One despite the fact that he was present in Glasgow to coach Gunnar Nelson and Charlie Ward. Now whilst it wasn’t exactly a successful night for SBG Ireland, perhaps it was nice for Kavanagh to take his mind away from the farcical charades of Conor and Floyd for a night – then again, maybe not.
Kavanagh on splitting time between McGregor & Nelson
“I haven’t, if I’m being honest. I’ve been in Dublin. Gunni was training in Iceland, and I’ve just been in Dublin with Conor.”
Kavanagh on whether Conor has got into Floyd’s head
“If I’m being 100% honest I would say no. Floyd is 40 years of age, he’s been around the fight game. Maybe it was a little bit surprising to him just how much the fanfare was in one direction, and I think it’s only going to get worse.”
Moving onto the fighters themselves we start off with the ever-popular JoJo Calderwood, as the soft-spoken Scot continued her trend of winning over the media through her plucky and underrated personality. Still, we can’t help but notice that she looked a bit tired at times during the afternoon, with her eventual weight cut issues potentially knocking her confidence heading into the scrap with Calvillo.
Calderwood on Cynthia Calvillo’s unbeaten record
“I’ve fought so many people that are undefeated. It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day rankings, records – they don’t mean s*** especially when you’re in there. You could go in there with no fights, throw a lucky punch and win.”
On the other hand we had the unbeaten Cynthia Calvillo, who was dressed to the nines at the Crowne Plaza as she dazzled the media with her energetic and informative responses to all involved. It’s clear that confidence isn’t an issue with this young lady, and given that she’s already fought four times in 2017 the sky truly is the limit.
— CLICKON Sports (@CLICKONSports) 16 July 2017
Calvillo on Dana White being a big fan of hers
“I’ve been working hard for years, I knew at some point I was going to catch his eye. Am I surprised I’m here? No. I might be surprised at how fast I moved, but I’m here and I truly believe that I belong here.”
Onto the main event and whilst we’ll most certainly be covering it in our upcoming Glasgow recaps, we need to address the elephant in the room: Gunnar Nelson was taken out by Santiago Ponzinibbio. It was a shock that fit in well with the theme of the night, and it makes Gunnar’s comments regarding a future title shot all the more awkward.
Nelson on whether he’s ready for a title shot
“I definitely feel like I’m ready at this point. I’ve had some really good camps for the Rotterdam card and the London card, and I know my own body.”
We touched on the Argentine, but we haven’t given him the respect he deserves. Walking into this fight nobody gave the 30-year-old a chance, but coming out of it people won’t be asking him whether or not he’s just happy to be here; but instead they’ll be talking about who his next top 10 victim will be.
— CLICKON Sports (@CLICKONSports) 16 July 2017
Ponzinibbio on his first experience in Scotland
“I’m very happy. It’s a beautiful country, and after my fight I’ll stay here for a while and even go to England. There’s a lot of history here and I’m happy for this opportunity.”
With media day out of the way we quickly closed in on the big event itself, and in the next instalment of our series we’ll run down the best moments from a night which has left the world of mixed martial arts in a state of shock.