UFC 271’s Casey O’Neill Calls Roxy “A Legend,” Adds “The Torch Has Been Passed”

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Houston, TX — Vastly overshadowed (and admittedly feeling it) during the build-up to UFC 271 was women’s flyweight Casey O’Neill.

O’Neill (9-0) had been tapped as the final opponent of Roxanne Modafferi, who was retiring on Saturday after nearly two decades in mixed martial arts — all but unheard of for a female fighter. Win or lose, it was a tough spot for the Scottish-Australian to be in, with Modafferi one of the most beloved fighters on the roster.

The fans let her know it during the bout itself, and afterwards as well. But despite having to play the villain, O’Neill said afterwards that she loved the fight.

“I love that fight, I love to get into wars. When I’m at sparring, I spar hard and go hard like that with the boys,” she told media outlets including Cageside Press backstage at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. “So doing that with a female in the cage and having someone really put it to me and push me, I felt on top of the world at the end.”

The veteran even managed to surprise O’Neill, she later admitted. “She definitely trained hard for that fight and changed up her game plan, so that was pretty cool. I was surprised but not in a bad way.” O’Neill added that she was grateful that both herself and Modafferi were having fun in the fight, “and put on an exciting fight. In my mind, that was a really exciting fight, so I hope that all the fans enjoyed it. Grateful that she got to go out there and have a great showing, grateful that I did. The torch has been passed, and I’m ready to take over and be the new generation.”

While the torch may have been passed, following the bout, which ended in a split decision, Casey O’Neill was clearly public enemy number one. “Listen, Roxanne is liked by everybody, so of course I’m going to get booed. I’m also not American, fighting in America,” she observed. That said, the jeers seemed to get to her, at least a little. “I feel like I deserved a little bit more respect than that, that was kind of sh*t, but it is what it is. At the end of the day, they’re buying tickets and they’re watching me, so you’re paying me whether you like me or don’t, so whatever you want to do, I don’t care.”

Watch the full UFC 271 post-fight press conference with Casey O’Neill above.

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