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Despite “Rough” start, Casey Kenney is having a record year

It’s tough to argue Casey Kenney is not making the most of 2020.

The year started out slow for the 29-year-old. He suffered a decision loss to Merab Dvalishvili back in February, just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the United States. 

Kenney even contracted the virus back in July. Just three months later, Kenney is on a three-fight win streak and earned a “Fight of the Night” bonus with his decision win over Nathanial Wood at UFC 254 this past Saturday, Oct. 24.

“I feel like I’ve experienced it all, basically just making the most of 2020,” Kenney siad.

“It started off a little rough, but three fight win streak and it’s been one of my better years.”

Casey Kenney is on a roll

Kenney capped off back-to-back wins in October with a $50,000 bonus for his performance against Wood. Wood proved to be Kenney’s toughest test out of his last three fights.

The Arizona native still managed to earn a unanimous decision nod.

The bantamweight experienced a little bit of everything in his last three victories. He earned his first UFC finish by tapping Louis Smolka in the first-round at UFC on ESPN 9 this past May. 

During the first week of October, Kenney dominated all three rounds on his way to a unanimous decision win against Heili Alateng at UFC on ESPN 16 on Oct. 3. Although his win over Wood is the freshest, all the wins hold significance in different forms according to Kenney.

“They are all kind of sweet in their own way,” Kenney said. “With the back-to-back ones, first post-fight bonus, took out a super tough guy, things that I know I’m capable of, it’s starting to pay off.”

Earning another blackbelt

Sandwiched between his two-straight “Fight Island” wins was his jiu-jitsu blackbelt promotion under former UFC title challenger Chris Cariaso at Rise Combat Sports in Tucson, Arizona. After rolling for about 10 years, Kenney earned his second blackbelt in martial arts. 

He now holds two blackbelts in judo and jiu-jitsu. It’s clear those accolades are showing inside the octagon. 

“I can always say I got two Ph.D’s in kicking ass,” Kenney said. “Between a judo and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt, they average about 10 years apiece, it pretty much took me that for both of them. That’s a feat in itself and an honor. Added rewards and things to the shelf, I’m just trying to make history.”


Kenney is not ready to call it a year just yet. He is eying one more fight in 2020, specifically UFC 256 on Dec. 12. He likes the idea of joining the same card as current bantamweight champion Petr Yan and challenger Aljamain Sterling.

Kenney is use to being busy, fighting three or more times each year since 2017. Kenney is already up to a career-high four fights within 12 months. Fighting once more is an added bonus.

“What better way to keep my eye on that belt than being on the same card as the Sterling and Yan matchup,” Kenney said. “Where I’m at in the UFC, cashing those paychecks, let’s keep doing that.”

Casey Kenney spoke to MyMMANews about winning three-straight bouts and earning a “Fight of the Night” bonus at UFC 254 on Saturday, Oct. 24. See the full video above.

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