5 Things You Might Not Know About Casey O’Neill

Casey O'Neill now finds her degree of difficulty on the upswing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s flyweight division.

The surging 25-year-old contender will put her perfect 9-0 record on the line when she faces former Invicta Fighting Championships titleholder Jennifer Maia in a featured UFC 286 attraction on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London. Casey has finished three of her four opponents since she joined the UFC roster a little more than two years ago. She last competed at UFC 271, where she took a split decision from Roxanne Modafferi on Feb. 12, 2022, a serious knee injury having thwarted her progress in the ensuing months.

As O’Neill makes final preparations for her forthcoming showdown with Maia at 125 pounds, here are five things you might not know about her:

1. She rose out of fertile European soil.

O’Neill was born Oct. 7, 1997 in Irvine, Scotland—a city of roughly 34,000 people situated 70 miles southwest of the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. It was also the birthplace of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 20 quarterfinalist Joanne Wood.

2. She proved herself as a beast of burden.

“King Casey” struck gold in the Australia-based Eternal MMA promotion, where she captured the women’s strawweight championship with a five-round unanimous decision over Amira Hafizovic at Eternal MMA 43 in April 2019. O’Neill made one successful title defense before losing the title on the scales six months later, necessitating her move to the flyweight division.

3. The fast track was not too fast for her.

O’Neill arrived in the Ultimate Fighting Championship less than two years after she made her professional debut. She buried Shana Dobson with punches in the second round of their UFC Fight Night 185 pairing on Feb. 20, 2021.

4. Top-tier preparation keeps her sharp.

The Scotland native operates out of the acclaimed Xtreme Couture camp in Las Vegas, where she trains under Eric Nicksick and a host of other world-class coaches. O’Neill shares the gym with a number of high-profile stablemates, including former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate.

5. She excels at close-quarters combat.

O’Neill holds the rank of brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Casey Halstead, the point man for 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu in Las Vegas. She has two submissions to her credit. O’Neill took care of Jada Ketley with a first-round rear-naked choke at Eternal MMA 46 on July 27, 2019 and put Lara Procopio to sleep with a third-round rear-naked choke at UFC on ESPN 25 on June 19, 2021.
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