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Casey O’Neill Shined Bright in UFC Debut

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‘King’ Casey O’Neill made a statement in her debut performance against Shana Dobson at UFC Vegas 19. At just 23 years old, O’Neill proved she has a very bright future in the women’s flyweight division.

A native of Scotland but raised and currently training in Australia, O’Neill entered her UFC debut over the weekend with a perfect record of 5-0. She retained her zero by delivering a dominant performance, in which she out-struck Dobson 132–to–27. After eating a few of Dobson’s best offerings, O’Neill closed the distance and landed her first of four takedowns. She displayed a lot of composure while keeping top position for most of the opening round.

The second round began with O’Neill again absorbing a big strike from Dobson in order to get in close to clinch against the cage. From there, it was more heavy top position from O’Neill, and eventually, she began raining down heavy ground and pound en route to earning the TKO finish.

In her post-fight interview, Casey O’Neill revealed that her dreams came true (literally) over the weekend in her UFC debut:

“Obviously I’ve been improving my striking a lot over the past couple years, but I’ve been a grappler since day one,” she said, “But I’ve been a grappler since day one – it’s always been my strength in my fights – so we knew once we got her to the ground eventually she’d drown and that would be it. I actually had that dream five times last night that I’d finish her in the second round by elbows, so it came true.”

Casey O’Neill

Self-proclaimed as the first “Scossie”, O’Neill proudly represents both Scotland and Australia on the big stage. The raw emotion shown following her first UFC victory was her realizing that all of her sacrifices are paying off.

“I’ve wanted to be here for a long time and I’ve made a lot of sacrifices in my personal life to do that,” O’Neill explained. “I moved away from all my family when I was really young with my parents to Australia. Then, I moved away from them to Thailand on my own a couple years ago too. So I’ve by myself pretty much, building support systems everywhere I go and building up pressure to get myself there. I’m running out of money and like ‘you need to get yourself there – you deserve to be there.’ I definitely felt overwhelmed with emotions at the end, especially not having my parents here for my first one.”

Casey O’Neill
Casey O'Neill reacts after winning at UFC Vegas 19.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 20: Casey O’Neill of Australia reacts after her victory over Shana Dobson in a flyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Bright Future Ahead for Casey O’Neill

Casey O’Neill has a bright future in the UFC, and that really shined through in her first octagon appearance. The young phenom wants to stay active this year, hoping to compete three or four times.

Maycee Barber might have to step aside as being the most talented, young prospect in the UFC women’s flyweight division. Perhaps they will cross paths at some point this year.

Who do you want to see Casey O’Neill face next? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Ryan Truland is an experienced MMA writer for Ryan regularly conducts interviews with athletes, provides creative pieces, and whatever else is needed to keep readers up to date with the latest and greatest MMA content.