Austrian striker Livia von Plettenberg said on March 5 in an exclusive interview with Long Island MMA Examiner Eric Holden that she has no regrets about accepting the Invicta FC 4 fight against Joanne Calderwood, a lopsided affair that had some in the MMA community questioning Invicta FC's decision to match the two ladies up.
Calderwood was two years older, and enjoyed a four-inch height advantage along with a wealth of MMA experience. Calderwood was steamrolling her opponents, and riding an impressive four-fight win streak that included three knockout finishes.
Von Plettenberg headed into the Calderwood fight with just one MMA bout under her belt, against an opponent who hadn't competed with world-class talent.
It's hard to blame Invicta FC for matching up Calderwood and Von Plettenberg, as the original plan was for Australia's Bec Hyatt to step into the cage with the Scottish brawler. Unfortunately, an injury to Claudia Gadelha pushed Hyatt into the Invicta FC 4 main event, which left Calderwood without an opponent.
Von Plettenberg stepped up on short notice to take the fight even though she knew she was in over her head.
On fight night, the 24-year-old took such a vicious beating from "Dr. Knee-vil" in the opening frame that color commentator "King Mo" Lawal said on-air that her corner may be wise to throw in the towel before the second round.
Von Plettenberg's corner didn't end up throwing in the towel, as "T-Rex" came back out for the second and third frame. She ultimately lost a unanimous decision, but says taking lumps against a world-class striker such as Calderwood was helpful in her development.
Von Plettenberg took a beating and kept on ticking, proving that she's a true gamer and a tough warrior to finish.
"Calderwood was the toughest opponent in my career so far," Von Plettenberg said. "She had all the advantages a fighter could have. She was taller, had way more experience, along with a proper fight camp. No excuses though. I feel like I did a good job, had a great experience and I grew with the challenge. I loved every second of it.
"Not too many people would have taken that fight. I wasn't preparing for any fight, enjoyed Christmas' sweets probably too much, had my last fight seven months before that and then there was this Muay Thai specialist who beat the s*** out of everyone. Many people told me that it was a bad decision, but I believe that you need to fight stronger opponents to evolve faster. I'm not a very patient person so I want to get the most out of everything and as quickly as possible. Like I said, I love fighting, I want to fight as often as possible, become better every time and I'm not one to say no to a fight, not even with the odds against me. In the end, what's the worst that can happen? I will look back at this time when I'm old and think that I lived my life to its fullest instead of regretting that I never even tried. In my eyes it was the best choice I could have made."
After the brutal smackdown from Calderwood, a lesser woman would have quit the sport.
Von Plettenberg says it only made her stronger, and she plans to get back into the cage perhaps as early as Invicta FC 6 in July.
"I'm in Vienna right now studying for my master's exam, so there's no time for fighting at the moment," Von Plettenberg said. "My next fight will hopefully be at Invicta 6, but it's still being worked out. I'm moving down to atomweight right now and I'm feeling really confident that I'll do great there."
Von Plettenberg is one of the pioneers of women's MMA in Austria, a country she admits is light years behind the United States when it comes to acceptance of women beating each other up inside a cage.
"There's Jasminka, and then there's me, so I guess WMMA is not really big in Austria," she said. "Jasminka used to fight at 125 though, so we never met in the cage, even though I would have loved to fight her at one point. The Austrian MMA scene is not really women friendly, most match makers don't want female fighters on their fight card and they don't pay girls any money at all. It's almost impossible to get somewhere here without the right connections, that's why I chose to leave Austria and go to train in the United States. After I'm done with my master's I'll move to Portland, Oregon so I can pursue my fighting career more seriously. I hope that Jasminka and I will be some sort of role model though, so more girls get into fighting and change the image that it is a violent sport."