Cynthia Calvillo is excited to compete in her first main event as a professional fighter, despite what the critics have to say about it.
Calvillo makes her 125-pound debut for the UFC against Jessica Eye in the main event of the promotion’s June 13 fight card. The event is expected to take place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
The 32-year-old returns to the flyweight division for the first time since her pro debut in August 2016 after the cut to 115 became too much. In her last fight against Marina Rodriguez in December, Calvillo missed weight by 4.5 pounds.
When the news broke that Calvillo and Eye, a recent title challenger, would be at the top of the marquee, it led to a stunned reaction from not only fans, but Calvillo herself.
“Honestly, to tell you the truth, I, myself, was very surprised that this happened,” Calvillo said on the What the Heck show. “Especially considering that I had missed weight the last fight, my track record has been a little bit off these last couple of times.
“I haven’t put on the best performances—getting a draw and missing weight—and I knew it was a strange situation with COVID. I mean, I had to pull out of the other fight because this sh*t’s been going on. I was just happy I would get something.”
Originally, Calvillo was scheduled to fight Antonina Shevchenko at UFC Lincoln in April before the event was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. Once the promotion returned to action with a trio of events in Jacksonville, Fla., Calvillo felt safe enough to reach out to her manager to take the necessary steps for getting back to competition.
While she was planning a July return to the octagon, a big, yet short-notice opportunity came her way that she couldn’t pass up.
“When it happened, I was like, ‘I’m gonna take it,’” Calvillo explained. “I know a lot of people don’t agree with it but, honestly, F y’all to tell you the truth.
“It’s strange times right now. I’m not even sure I would’ve gotten this opportunity had it not been for COVID because some people were worried about taking certain fights. There’s a lot of matchups that got mixed up and things got switched up. They’re just trying to make fights happen right now and I think that’s great. I’m extremely appreciative.”
Calvillo is unbeaten in her previous three fights, including a first-round submission win over Poliana Botelho and a unanimous decision victory over Cortney Casey. In her most recent fight, she went to a majority draw against Rodriguez after a huge bounce-back third round.
While the fight placement with Eye was met with surprise, it was also met with a lot of negativity on social media—something the new American Kickboxing Academy member was well aware of.
“I really don’t give a damn what people say,” Calvillo said. “What was I supposed to say, ‘No guys. I don’t agree with this main event. I don’t know why you guys did this, we’re not gonna do it?’ No, of course we’re gonna take it. As fighters and where we’re at, whoever would be in my position would absolutely, 100 percent take that fight. And if you guys want to sht on it, then go ahead. I guarantee you motherfckers would do it.
“It is what it is. You guys might not agree with it but this is crazy times and I’m gonna run with it. I’m gonna go out there and put on the performance of my life, especially going up to 125. These weight cuts are going to be easy money for me. I can take these short notice fights and I’m excited to be able to do that again. I’m taking Dana up on that offer to have at least four fights this year. I’m gonna get that done—main event or no main event.”
Eye is a fighter Calvillo has been paying attention to for a long time. After losing four straight fights at 135, “Evil” dropped down to the flyweight division and picked up three consecutive victories which led to a title shot against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 238 this past June.
Against Shevchenko, Eye suffered a devastating knockout, but was able to bounce back with a unanimous decision win over Viviane Araujo at UFC 245 in December.
While Calvillo is seeing and hearing the negativity from fans in regards to the main event booking for June 13, it’s something she has grown accustomed to since signing with the UFC in 2017.
“It’s been so crazy, man,” Calvillo stated. “I’ve had to deal with so many people talking sht, whether it was my last fight missing weight or when I got suspended. My first year as a rookie was the best. Everybody, at first, was like, ‘Who the fck is this chick?’ Next thing you know everybody’s on the f*ckin train. I lose, I get suspended and now I’m back on the other side.
“It’s a lot of ups and downs. I’m kind of used to it and I already know how people are on social media. It’s a bunch of people that say sht online. I don’t think I’ve ever had anybody talk sht—any fans or these people that talk to me online—have ever talked to me like that in person. You’re just gonna get a bunch of these assholes out there and that’s fine.
“You can tune in, watch to see me get beat up, or win. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. I’m just happy to be here and get to do what I love every freakin’ day. You’re going to get criticized anyway so might as well do it doing what you love.”