Monday, May 23, 2022

Casey O’Neill Wants To Fight Entire FW Top 15 Before Title Shot

UFC women’s flyweight prospect Casey O’Neill isn’t looking to rush her rise to the top of the 125-pound food chain.

In eight professional MMA fights, O’Neill has worked her way to the UFC and firmly established herself as a name to keep an eye on. In her three appearances in the Octagon to date, “King Casey” has TKO’d Shana Dobson and Antonina Shevchenko, and choked Lara Procópio unconscious.

O’Neill’s fourth task in the UFC will be to dispose of Roxanne Modafferi. “The Happy Warrior” will be making her 45th and final appearance in the cage at UFC 271 this Saturday. While she’ll be hoping to end her career on a high, O’Neill will be looking to spoil the retirement party inside Houston’s Toyota Center.

O’Neill Targets Slow & Steady Build

It’s fair to say a prospect’s development to a legitimate contender is often a ‘sink or swim’ affair.

Edmen Shahbazyan, for example, was about as hot a future star as the promotion had at the start of 2020, having recorded three consecutive first-round finishes at the age of just 22. Fast forward two years and he’s now on a three-fight skid having failed to adjust to the step-up in competition Derek Brunson, Jack Hermansson, and Nassourdine Imavov represented.

With that in mind, O’Neill is looking to follow a different route to the top, one that is becoming considerably more popular among rising stars.

During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, “King Casey” discussed her future plans, suggesting that, in an ideal scenario, she’d fight every ranked flyweight on her way towards the title.

“I’m still happy to slow build. But obviously, I can’t say no when Mick (Maynard) calls the phone. And every time he’s called, I’ve answered and been like, ‘OK, we can do that.’ But I just want to fight as many times as possible, get as much experience,” said O’Neill. “So however that ends up playing out, I guess is the way that it’s gonna be. But in my perfect world, I would fight everybody in the top 15 before I got there.”

With that said, Valentina Shevchenko can seemingly focus her efforts elsewhere for the next few years.

“I still think I’m a couple years away from being ready for that, just because of my experience,” O’Neill acknowledged.

With a win on the pay-per-view stage this weekend, and perhaps another finish, O’Neill will make yet another statement to the 125-pound roster. Sending Modafferi into retirement off the back of a one-sided loss would also likely see the Scottish-Australian fighter matched up with a top-10 opponent next time out.

Do you think Casey O’Neill is a future UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion?

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