Casey Kenney is set to face the toughest challenge of his career against Dominick Cruz at UFC 259. The 29-year-old last fought Nathaniel Wood in a three-round barnburner that saw him break into the top 15 of the UFC bantamweight rankings.
Cruz, a two-time UFC bantamweight champion, hasn't stepped foot inside the octagon since May of last year. 'The Dominator' faced Henry Cejudo in his previous outing at UFC 249, where 'Triple C' finished him in the second round.
Considering his impressive resume, Kenney could certainly pack a punch against the former bantamweight champ. He will be looking forward to establishing himself as a serious contender, and a win over Cruz could essentially make that happen. That said, Cruz would not disregard his UFC 259 opponent by any means. After all, Kenney has been at the summit of multiple MMA promotions.
Ahead of his big clash at UFC 259, here are five things you should know about Casey Kenney.
#1 Casey Kenney was heavily criticized for his comments on Megan Anderson
Casey Kenney was featured on the Timbo Sugar Show podcast last month, where he made sexual remarks about top women's featherweight contender, Megan Anderson. Kenney joked about Anderson being a "five am’er", and also mocked her appearance.
Anderson referred to Kenney's sexual connotations as "utterly disgusting."
Kenney later responded to Anderson's tweet and admitted that he should have been more careful with his words.
"I’m sorry this upset you. I will be more careful with my words. I was just answering a question and thought it was all a joking matter. I see I was wrong and I’m sorry. Best of luck with the training camp and your fight," Kenney wrote in his tweet.
Anderson recently claimed she will confront Kenney if she encounters him at UFC 259, where the Australian is set to fight Amanda Nunes in the co-main event.
#2 Casey Kenney is a nine-time national judo champion
Casey Kenney had a knack for combat sports from his childhood. He started training in Judo at the age of five in 1996, and went on to become the national judo champion on nine different occasions. Kenney's flair for judo saw him acquire a 2nd dan black belt.
He later switched his attention to wrestling, and won several state division championships during his high school days. Kenny is also a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
After competing in a few amateur mixed martial arts bouts, Kenney turned professional in 2014 at the age of 23.
#3 Casey Kenney has held three titles in two different promotions
Casey Kenney is a former two-division LFA (Legacy Fighting Alliance) interim champion. The 29-year-old claimed interim LFA flyweight title in 2018 after defeating future UFC star Brandon Rovyal. Three months later, Kenney won the LFA bantamweight championship with a KO win over Vince Cachero. A stunning LFA record helped Kenney secure a UFC contract, who signed with the promotion in 2019.
Before making a name for himself in LFA, Kenney was a flyweight champion at TPF (Tachi Palace Fights) as well, which is a California-based MMA promotion.
#4 Casey Kenney has lost only one of his previous ten fights
Casey Kenney has emerged victorious in nine of his last ten fights. The Portland fighter is riding a three-fight win streak ahead of his clash against Dominick Cruz at UFC 259.
Since signing with the UFC in 2019, Kenney has competed in six fights, winning all of them except one against Merab Dvalishvili in February last year. He has scored big wins over the likes of Ray Borg and Nathaniel Wood, and his commendable record suggests that Kenny may pose some problems for Cruz when they collide next month.
#5 Casey Kenney missed UFC contract by a whisker in 2017
Before exploiting his skills at LFA, Casey Kenney was given a shot at earning a UFC contract in 2017. The 29-year-old competed in Dana White's Contender Series 2 and won his fight against C.J. Hamilton via unanimous decision, however, he failed to secure a contract.
The following month, Kenney was once again offered a fight to impress the UFC president and possibly sign with the UFC. He fought Adam Antolin in a three-round war but found himself on the wrong side of the split decision. Kenney won his next four fights in LFA, and eventually earned a UFC contract two years later.