UFC 254’s Casey Kenney: Mentally, I’m Bulletproof

Abu Dhabi, UAE — At UFC 254 on Saturday, for the second time in a month, Casey Kenney had his hand raised.

The bantamweight — fighting Nathaniel Wood at a 140lb catchweight — earned a unanimous decision win in a scrap later awarded Fight of the Night. That improved Kenney’s record to 16-2-1, and put him on a 3-0 run since the pandemic started.

Looking at it on the surface, there’s not much to find fault in. Not so for Kenny, however. “I’m my biggest critic, I think I could have done better,” he said after the bout, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press. “But you know, it was a fun fight. I’ll go back and watch it and see how that one played out. But I felt like I was getting the better of him. Felt like he was trying to take a break and that was where I was marching forward. Like, come on, motherf*cker. Let’s fight!”

Casey, as mentioned, has now won three fights since the pandemic set in, and is 3-1 overall in 2020. He’d love to get one more in before the end of 2020.

“I’d like to get one more in this year. The bantamweight title is on the line December 12. That’s enough for me to kind of heal up and get a camp in again. So give me another tough guy on December 12,” Kenney requested. “I know they’re gonna probably throw some bantamweight fights on there with the title fight on the line. It’s right before Christmas too, my mom deserves something nice this year.”

Ahead of the fight, Nathaniel Wood seemed to downplay Kenney’s stand-up, suggesting that he’d be forced into takedown attempts early in the fight. That’s not exactly how things played out.

“I think that was more tactics, on his part versus, more than anything. He’s a tough guy, nicknamed “The Prospect,” he’s got some good coaches in his corner. So I thought he was going to be shooting. But after hearing that, though, I told my coaches, ‘we’ll see who shoots first,'” said Kenney. “I think I was the one that shoot first, but it definitely wasn’t in two minutes. I cracked him with some shots. And in the rounds, especially after the first couple minutes of the round, I saw him slowing down trying to catch a breather, and that’s where I was pushing the pace.”

When it comes to the quick turnaround between his past two fights, with only a few weeks in between, Kenney told Cageside Press that “mentally, I’m bulletproof. You know, I’m out riding jet skis, out having fun. And that’s what I do.”

“This is fun for me. Everything about this is fun,” he added. “I always get the question, what do you do outside of fighting? I don’t know. I live fighting. This is my hobby. This is what I want to do. And I’m doing it on the biggest stage in the world. This is what I want to keep doing. Fighting is only so long. I got a lot of years left but retiring at 35, 40 years old, I’m trying to get in as many as I can right now.”

Watch the full UFC 254 post-fight press scrum with Casey Kenney above.