Cortney Casey: Homecoming
Cortney Casey (7-5) gets her wish on April 14th as she returns home to face Michelle Waterson (14-6) as part of the UFC on FOX 29 card in Glendale Ariona.
Casey fights out of ‘The MMA Lab’ in Glendale and so this is as close to a homecoming fight as it gets; naturally, she’s looking forward to the opportunity - ‘I’m super excited to be fighting back at home, it’s been a while, my last fight home was for ‘Coalition of Combat’ against Ashley Yoder almost 5 years ago!’ she told SpitballingPod.
‘Cast-Iron’ is 2-2 in her last four UFC bouts, but both losses came in competitive bouts against top opposition in Claudia Gadelha and Felice Herrig. The Herrig result in particular was controversial and remains disputed by Casey, she explained ‘We were surprised – the punch count was there, everything was there, she won on cage control but if you really look at the fight then I dictated where the fight went but it’s just one of those things. When it goes to the judges, you never really know how they’ve seen it. We were happy with our performance, my coaches were happy with my performance but we just move on now’.
Waterson is also coming off losses to some of the name contenders at 115, with her 2 most recent bouts ending in defeat against Rose Namajunas and Tecia Torres. When speaking on the matchup, Casey said ‘I’m really happy about the matchup, she’s ranked higher than me, I think we matchup great, she’s great going forwards and backwards and so am I. I feel like it’s gonna be a good fight no matter what because of our styles and what we bring to the cage’. She then added ‘She’s high up in the rankings, she’s definitely a name that everyone recognises, so it’s a great opponent to have in my hometown. She’s close in Albuquerque, so I’m sure she has a lot of support coming too, so it’s a good fight for both of us for sure’.
MMA wasn’t the original path for Casey, as she revealed her initial sporting aspirations were directed in another area - ‘I’ve always been really interested in martial arts – I did karate and taekwondo as a kid. After my senior year of college soccer, I got a pretty bad injury, so I started doing jiu-jitsu to stay active and competitive and then it came full circle and I took my first fight after about six months of training’.
The fighters life isn’t for everyone, but it’s a love of competition that is enough to keep Casey going in the sport; ‘I think it’s the competitive aspect. I’ve been an athlete my entire life, and almost always in team sports, so this was a way to take a step back from team sports and focus on myself. I like that you can never learn everything, it’s constantly evolving, it’s constantly growing and I like that challenge. I like being able to go to the gym everyday knowing that I’ll learn something, so that’s what’s kept me going’ she said.
Providing the bout against Waterson goes to plan, then Cortney would like to remain active this year, she said ‘By the end of the year, I definitely want to be ranked within the top 10. We’re gonna try and get another fight in after Waterson if we can and then maybe even another one to end the year. If I get one more in then I’ll be happy, two more would be great’.
This is a definite fight to watch out for, on what should be an excellent card topped by Dustin Poirier v Justin Gaethje. Casey will be desperate to record a win to get back on track and it’s hard to see a situation in which this fight doesn’t deliver.