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Joanne Wood of Scotland prepares to fight Luana Carolina of Brazil in a flyweight fight during the UFC 286 event at The O2 Arena on March 18, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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Joanne Wood Wants To Go Out In Her Style

Scottish Flyweight Joanne Wood Hopes To Get A Little Revenge Before Calling It A Career At UFC 299: O’Malley vs Vera 2

Joanne Wood lets out a slight sigh when asked how she’s feeling about her final fight week. 

The 38-year-old Scotswoman is calling it a career after UFC 299: O’Malley vs Vera 2, which will mark her 17th fight in the Octagon and 25th as a professional. “JoJo” admitted she hasn’t spent much time taking stock of how she feels about her farewell bout. Part of that is feeling settled in her decision. Wood contemplated retirement after getting her hand raised in London at UFC 286, but she felt good enough after the fact that she knew she had one more fight in her. Perhaps that is because her camp, which Wood cites as the “hardest part,” went so well and was so free of any injury incidents that Wood is sailing smoothly into her rematch with Maryna Moroz, who beat Wood in April 2015. 

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“It's going to be a perfect story because she gave me my first loss,” Wood told UFC.com. “I didn't watch the fight afterwards until now, which is crazy because that was nine years ago and kind of makes me a little bit emotional right now. But watching it back, I was just like, ‘Oh, my gosh, that person is dead. She is long gone.’ I've grew so much from then and I'm excited to be getting that back.”

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Wood, whose professional MMA career started in February 2012 after extensive time doing Muay Thai, broke into the UFC via The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will be Crowned in 2014. 

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Although she lost to Rose Namajunas, she found her feet in the Octagon. Wood really found her stride, however, once she moved up to flyweight in August 2018, winning three of four fights and making it to the precipice of a UFC title shot. While that chance never materialized, Wood is happy with the fact that she can look back at her 10 years in the organization and honestly say she remained herself.

Joanne Wood of Scotland punches Luana Carolina of Brazil in a flyweight fight during the UFC 286 event at The O2 Arena on March 18, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Joanne Wood of Scotland punches Luana Carolina of Brazil in a flyweight fight during the UFC 286 event at The O2 Arena on March 18, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“I'm most proud of staying true to myself, always being honest,” she said. “It's been a struggle for me because I'm shy, and I don't like talking about myself. Obviously, most of the fight world is that part… I could have probably got a little bit better and I know probably a little bit better than what I would have liked, but I think I stayed true to myself. That's the biggest thing.”

Retirement doesn’t mean stepping away from the sport cold turkey, however. Wood jokes that she’ll eat enough cake and pizza that she will resemble a beach ball on the mat, but she plans to continue helping her teammates at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas, where her husband and coach, John Wood, runs the ship. 

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Wood also feels like she still has an impact to make on the sport as a whole in a way that has not yet materialized. 

Joanne Calderwood of Scotland kicks Lauren Murphy in their flyweight fight during the UFC 263 event at Gila River Arena on June 12, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Joanne Wood of Scotland kicks Lauren Murphy in their flyweight fight during the UFC 263 event at Gila River Arena on June 12, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“My main thing was to inspire other little girls from Scotland that have this big, massive dream and people are telling her she's crazy,” Wood said. “Maybe it's not happened yet, (but) it will happen. For me, once I see that, I'm going to feel fulfilled and know that I've done my purpose.”

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For now, though, Wood is relishing the scenes in Miami as one of the most stacked cards in recent memory inches itself closer to fight night. Wood didn’t ask for or expect to face Moroz again, but she was happy to have the chance to rectify that blemish on her record.

Joanne Wood of Scotland poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night ceremonial weigh-in at Nationwide Arena on March 25, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Joanne Wood of Scotland poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night ceremonial weigh-in at Nationwide Arena on March 25, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Ultimately, Wood just wants to enjoy the moment. The self-reflection and the emotions that come with that after she gets her hand raised one more time. As she puts it: “Save the tears for after.”

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“I'm just going to go in and have fun,” she said. “(It’s) my last fight, leave it all out there, throw everything and the kitchen sink. Go out my style. Just go in there and get the win however I can, whatever it takes. Go in there and make sure she regrets beating me the first time.”

Order UFC 299: O'Malley vs Vera 2

UFC 299: O'Malley vs Vera 2 took place live from Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida on March 9, 2024. See the final Prelims & Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass