Cynthia Calvillo knew it was time to start fresh.
And what better place to hit the reset button than sunny Miami?
This weekend Calvillo returns to action at UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2, and she does so in the strawweight division, where she amassed a 6-1-1 record in the UFC. Strawweight is the weight class where she staked her claim as a contender, and that previous success gives Calvillo confidence heading into her bout with Loopy Godinez.
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“My plan is to come back down to the strawweight division and make a statement, like, ‘Hey what’s up guys? I’m back.’” Calvillo told UFC.com. “That’s what I’m here for. I want to leave [flyweight] behind me. I got experience at flyweight, but I just want to leave that behind.
“It’s a clean slate. We’re back at strawweight and we’re going to keep it moving.”
Calvillo isn’t shy about the fact that her five-fight foray at 125 pounds didn’t go as expected. She came up short in four of five bouts, but her record doesn’t tell the whole story. Those fights came against some of the best that division has to offer, including former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade and flyweight title challenger Katlyn Chookagian.
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It was a tough pill to swallow, but the 35-year-old California native appreciates the lessons learned in those fights and she’s eager to apply them versus Godinez this weekend.
Plenty has shifted in the division since Calvillo moved up and she’s excited about the direction that it’s moving.
“It’s nice to see changes because I think it gives everybody else a little bit motivation,” Calvillo said. “I’m like, ‘Hey, you know, I have a shot to touch that gold.’ I’m stoked. I love the new talent that’s coming in and I love the way that the division has been shaken up.”
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To restart that climb up the strawweight rankings, Calvillo needs to get by Godinez, who burst onto the scene in 2021.
Calvillo has been impressed with what she’s seen out of Godinez’s six UFC appearances so far, and the two fighters almost trained together in Las Vegas on a few occasions. It didn’t work out, and once they were matched up they decided to put a pause on training together for now and put on a banger of a fight for the crowd at Kaseya Center.
“She reminds me of myself, which is being hungry or being down to fight anywhere at any time and I love that,” Calvillo said. “On top of that, she’s Mexican, just like me. She’s a wrestler and she’s a grappler. There’s not going to be any running. We’re both stylistically very similar, so I’m excited for that because like I feel like these last couple of fights, especially at flyweight, there are a lot of strikers and nobody wanted to go to the ground with me. Nobody wanted to wrestle me.”
Even though Calvillo has plenty of mutual respect for Godinez, she’s confident that her experience will give her an advantage in the bout.
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“I’m going to be able to beat her everywhere she goes, whether it’s standup, it’s wrestling, or it’s jiu jitsu,” Calvillo said. “I feel like I have more experience than her and I feel like it’s going to show. I’m really excited to get this fight. I admire her and I think she’s a great fighter.”
Calivllo hopes that afterwards the two can reconnect and resume their budding friendship.
“I would love to flip the switch. We’re not going to be friends this week or when we’re in the Octagon, but afterwards I’m sure we’ll maybe enjoy a margarita or something.”
A win and a margarita definitely sounds like the right vibe for Calvillo to kick off her second run at strawweight.
All that’s left to do is to go out there and make it happen.
UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2 took place live from Kayesa Center in Miami, Florida on April 8, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!