Cynthia Calvillo ‘not impressed’ with Lauren Murphy’s ‘free paycheck’ at UFC 254, happy to fight ‘gangster’ Katlyn Chookagian

Cynthia Calvillo wanted her fight with Lauren Murphy rescheduled as soon as possible, but it seems the promotion has other ideas.

After a long training camp, Calvillo was getting ready to face Murphy on Fight Island in a pivotal 125-pound matchup at UFC 254. Then a positive COVID-19 test scratched her from the event.

Murphy went on to face newcomer Liliya Shakirova, and in the second round she picked up her first submission win and fourth consecutive victory.

Calvillo now faces Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 255 on Nov. 21 in Las Vegas. But she had a few things to say about her would-be opponent following the fight. She took to Twitter to express her thoughts on the performance and then, around 40 minutes later, dialed it back to let Murphy bask in getting her hand raised.

After her win, Murphy cut a pair of well-reasoned promos—one in the octagon, and another during her media scrum—about the landscape of the division and the title picture. In addition, Murphy made it clear that she “doesn’t give a sh*t” what Calvillo thinks.

Now that the dust has settled, Calvillo spoke with MMA Fighting and was asked if she was surprised that Murphy stayed on the card to face Shakirova.

“That just shows what type of fighter she is in my opinion,” Calvillo told MMA Fighting. “I think that if you’re a badass fighter and you’re coming for that title, all you had to do was wait one week for me to get better and we could’ve done it in Las Vegas. But she wanted to take the easy way out because she wanted to go to Fight Island and make an easy paycheck against a girl who—I’m sorry, I already know who she is, I trained with her before—Lauren should’ve finished in the first round.

“I wasn’t impressed at all. I think, if anything, that was probably the best decision she could’ve made for herself but she’s not deserving of a title shot after that performance even if it was a second-round finish. It was just kind of ridiculous, and that’s why I’m not impressed with it. I already know what I can do, who I’ve trained with and who I’ve competed against.”

Murphy made it clear after her win that her impressive winning streak and risk-taking put her in a prime position for a title shot. She also took a selfless, yet meritocracy based approach to the title picture, suggesting Jennifer Maia should be pulled from her title fight with Valentina Shevchenko and replaced by Jessica Andrade, who finished then top contender Katlyn Chookagian in the first round at UFC Fight Island 6.

While Murphy, who is 3-0 in 2020, feels she would deserve a title shot in her next fight, Calvillo disagrees.

“I understand her argument for what she wants, but not based on what her last decision was, which was not to wait for me,” Calvillo said. “You want to fight someone who’s already in the top-five. If it’s going to be someone last-minute, let it be someone who has already cemented their time in there.

“Jennifer Maia, she jumped in when [Joanne Calderwood] put up her shot, went in there and now she’s fighting for the title. That’s OK, because that’s the way it is. I could just ramble on about it, but I’m a bit salty because I wish she would’ve waited.”

Calvillo entered the UFC’s flyweight division and took on Jessica Eye, who was ranked No. 1 at the time, and earned a unanimous decision win to put her in the championship hunt. Prior to that, the 33-year-old was unbeaten in her previous three fights, which included wins over Poliana Botelho and Cortney Casey, and fought Marina Rodriguez to a majority draw. Unfortunately, Calvillo missed weight for two of those fights, which prompted the move to 125 pounds.

According to Calvillo, the UFC first offered her a fight with Murphy at UFC 255 before plans changed to Chookagian.

“We wanted her in November – they offered it to her and she said no,” Calvillo explained. “She doesn’t want to fight me at all. She doesn’t want to give me that chance so, whatever. On to whoever is next and whoever is available to fight me. Hopefully, she can stay down there fighting those level fighters at 125 and then the top-five can fight against the top-five.

“I think it was only right to [rebook our fight] for her to really make the argument for what she wants. I don’t think her beating this last girl means anything. That was a free paycheck and a vacation on Fight Island. That’s what she got. Listen, she did great, she had a fight camp, made the weight. That’s awesome. But against who? I’ll do that any day. To me, what means more is my legacy and my resume. I’m sorry, I’m just not going to be impressed with that. I want to fight her, but whoever is next will get me towards that title.”

Following the interview, MMA Fighting reached out to Murphy and asked her if a rebooking with Calvillo was offered for the promotion’s next PPV event, which includes the championship bout between Shevchenko and Maia in the co-main event.

“We discussed it with the UFC, but it doesn’t make any sense (to fight her in November) – December makes way more sense,” Murphy told MMA Fighting. “Why would I turn around and fight Cynthia three weeks after I just fought? I did all the traveling, the weight cut and an actual fight this last week. She hasn’t done sh*t except take a week off from her camp, basically.

“The UFC told me Maia is going to fight [Shevchenko] and then Andrade is going to fight for the title. Then, the winner of me and Cynthia, maybe. So I fight Cynthia in three weeks and then what? Sit on the shelf for Andrade to fight [for the title] then fight for the championship and sit on the shelf for six months? Nope, sorry but that all sounds to me like I’d be doing Cynthia a favor, and I’m not in the business of doing Cynthia any favors.

“I’m happy to fight her in December when I can recover and have a proper camp. But fighting three weeks after a fight to face her for not even [an immediate] No. 1 contender spot—when I’m the one on a four-fight winning streak—is just dumb. It’s not giving myself the best chance for anything. She’s entitled little sh*t who gets handed everything.”

Murphy also responded to the Calvillo vs. Chookagian booking on Monday and explained her disbelief.

While Murphy was her top choice, Calvillo is quite happy to face a fighter who has competed for a world title, and quickly expressed interest this past week after a social media post to fans.

“I did put out an Instagram post asking people who I should fight and Katlyn jumped in there which is awesome,” Calvillo said. “I know she has her suspension from this last fight that would be great. She’s a gangster and I love that. I have a ton of respect for that because she’s just hopping on and fighting as many times as possible. She’s not trying to pick and choose, and that’s great.”