Calderwood first got started in Muay Thai training by accident. When she was 13, her younger brother was meant to go to a class with his friend who stood him up, so her mother asked her to go along to keep him company. She fell in love with it and begged her mother to allow her to give up competitive swimming to do the two classes each week. This quickly led to doing two sessions a day and spending all of her time training on her own between these sessions.
She worked several jobs growing up, including one after high school that involved her helping children and people who were on ventilation machines, monitoring them in the hospital and assisting them when needed. But those were 12-hour shifts, which drained energy and made training difficult.
She eventually found another gym, left that job to work at the gym and made a significant commitment to her training.
"I had to make a decision if I wanted to keep fighting or stay in my job," she said. "I wanted to keep fighting."
Calderwood started in Muay Thai in 2000 and was named STBA Fighter of the year in 2009. She is the current ISKA World Flyweight Champion, IKF European Flyweight Champion, the WKL European Flyweight Champion and the WBC UK Bantamweight Champion and is ranked #2 in the world by the World Professional Muaythai Federation. Her final Muay Thai fight was in September 2012 and she had earned a record of 19-2-0.
Joanne is Scotland's first professional female mixed martial artist. She won her debut bout against Noellie Molina via TKO from punches in the first round.
Calderwood next fought at India's Super Fight League's third event, SFL 3, against Lena Ovchynnikova. She won the fight via unanimous decision.
Calderwood then competed at On Top 5, defeating Ainara Mota via TKO from punches.
She next competed at Invicta Fighting Championships' third event, Invicta FC 3: Penne vs. Sugiyama, against Ashley Cummins on 6 October 2012. Calderwood won the fight via knockout from a knee to the body in the first round. She was awarded a Knockout of the Night bonus for the victory.
Calderwood was scheduled to face Bec Hyatt at Invicta FC 4: Esparza vs. Hyatt on 5 January 2013 in Kansas City. However, Hyatt was moved to the main event and Calderwood was instead matched up against Livia von Plettenberg. Calderwood won the fight via unanimous decision. This was Calderwood's debut on the main card of an Invicta FC event.
At Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 53 on 13 April 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland, Calderwood faced American Sally Krumdiack. She defeated Krumdiack by first-round TKO.
Calderwood was scheduled to face undefeated BJJ black belt Claudia Gadelha at Invicta FC 6: Coenen vs. Cyborg on 13 July 2013, but Gadelha was moved into a fight against Ayaka Hamasaki after Carla Esparza suffered an injury. Calderwood was then set to face Sarah Schneider. On 23 June, Schneider also withdrew due to injury and was replaced by Norma Rueda Center. Calderwood defeated Rueda Center via unanimous decision.
On 7 December 2013, Calderwood faced Katja Kankaanpää at Invicta FC 7: Honchak vs. Smith. She won the fight via unanimous decision.
On 11 December 2013, it was announced that Calderwood was signed by the UFC along with ten other strawweight fighters to compete on season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter, which will crown the first ever UFC women's strawweight champion. She defeated Emily Kagan by majority decision after two rounds to advance to the quarterfinals. She was defeated by Rose Namajunas in the quarterfinals via kimura in the second round. Despite her loss in this semifinal round fight, Calderwood was awarded a $25,000 Fight of the Season bonus for this bout.
Calderwood's first fight after The Ultimate Fighter was against Seohee Ham at The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned Finale on 12 December 2014. She won the fight by unanimous decision.
Calderwood faced promotional newcomer Maryna Moroz on 11 April 2015 at UFC Fight Night 64. Calderwood lost the fight as she was quickly submitted via armbar in the first round.
Calderwood's next fight was expected to be against Bec Rawlings at UFC Fight Night 72 on 18 July 2015. However, Rawlings pulled out of the bout due to an injury and was replaced by promotional newcomer Cortney Casey. After being rocked by punches and nearly finished in the first round, she rallied back to win the next two rounds to earn a unanimous decision victory.
Calderwood was expected to face Paige VanZant on 10 December 2015 at UFC Fight Night 80. However, Calderwood was pulled from the fight on October 28 and replaced by Rose Namajunas.
Calderwood next faced Valérie Létourneau at UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Thompson in the first women's flyweight bout in UFC history. She won the fight via TKO in the third round after striking Létourneau with a kick to the body and finishing her off with punches.
Calderwood faced Jéssica Andrade in a strawweight bout on 10 September 2016 at UFC 203. She lost the one-sided fight via submission in the first round.
Calderwood faced Cynthia Calvillo in a strawweight bout on 16 July 2017 at UFC Fight Night 113. At the weigh-ins, Calderwood came in at 118 lbs, two pounds over the strawweight limit of 116 lbs. As a result, she will be fined 20% of her purse, which will go to Calvillo and their bout will proceed as scheduled at a catchweight. Calderwood lost the fight via a controversial unanimous decision.
Calderwood is scheduled to face Bec Rawlings in Flyweight bout at UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Tybura on on 19 November 2017 in Sydney, Australia.International Kickboxing Federation
IKF European Flyweight (53.2 kg / 117 lb) Championship
International Sport Karate Association
ISKA World Flyweight (-51.8 kg / 114 lb) Championship
Scottish Thai Boxing Association
2009 STBA Fighter of the Year
World Boxing Council Muaythai
WBC Muaythai British Flyweight (-50.8 kg / 112 lb) Championship
World Kickboxing League
WKL European Flyweight Championship
Ultimate Fighting Championship
TUF 20 Fight of the Season vs. Rose Namajunas
Fight of the Night (One Time) vs. Cortney Casey
Women's MMA Press Awards
2014 Fan Favorite Fighter of the Year
2012 Newcomer of the Year