As the old cliché that’s chock-full of alliteration goes, proper preparation prevents piss-poor performance. In other words, always being prepared substantially increases your chances for success. For Casey Kenney, always being ready is a way of life.
“I’m always on short notice,” the Legacy Fighting Alliance interim flyweight champion told Combat Press. “I’m always ready and I live in the gym. I just need one to two weeks to sharpen some things and be ready to fight. I love being on short notice.”
Kenney’s enthusiasm for short-notice fights works to his benefit once again this week. He steps in to face the undefeated Vincent Cachero for the LFA interim bantamweight title as the headliner for LFA 62 on Friday, March 22, at The Bomb Factory in Dallas. Kenney has an opportunity to hold two titles after reigning LFA bantamweight champion Brett Johns had to withdraw from the bout.
Kenney, who sports a record of 10-1-1, won the interim flyweight belt in November. He has won four of his last five fights following a split draw against Bruno Silva in 2017.
“I just started a little slow, and I usually start fast,” Kenney said. “But there was no way it was a draw. [Silva] looked like he was in a meat grinder, while I had no marks on me. I landed some good kicks and some big shots in the third round, and I was chasing him as he stumbled around the cage. But it’s a credit to him. He’s a tough guy, and it was the first time I went the distance, so it was a good learning experience.”
The draw didn’t hurt Kenney’s fate, however, as he was then invited to compete on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series on UFC Fight Pass in 2017. He split his two fights on the show.
“It was cool to get the treatment of having the UFC in your corner,” Kenney said. “It was a good fight-week experience and to fight in front of Mick [Maynard, UFC matchmaker], Dana [White, UFC President] and Sean [Shelby, UFC matchmaker]. It was real personable inside that building — you could hear a pin drop before the fight. You learn to deal with the pressure of fighting for a UFC contract.”
Kenney did not receive a contract after his stint on DWTNCS, though.
“I’ve been on the short-notice list if other guys get injured,” he revealed. “I’m taking my fate in my own hands.”
For now, Kenney is very happy in the LFA, where he has competed in his last six fights.
“It’s a definite stepping stone, and I’m super comfortable in this organization,” Kenney said. “I like fighting on live TV and keep everything going well, and yeah, I want more money. What fighter doesn’t?”
The 28-year-old’s bid to add bantamweight gold to his trophy case comes against the Hawaiian-born Cachero, an undefeated upstart with four LFA victories among his six career wins. Cachero has stopped half of his pro opponents before the final bell.
“There’s not a lot to think about. I just fight and want to fight the best in the world,” said Kenney. “The best fighters are in the UFC — they’re the NFL or NBA of fighting.”
Kenney still considers former UFC flyweight champion and recent ONE Championship signee Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson to be the best flyweight in the world, but the current LFA interim flyweight titleholder sees his own future at 135 pounds.
“I thought I could make a decent run at 125 pounds, but the UFC did a pretty decent number on the flyweights,” he said. “I’ve been cutting weight since I was 10 years old, and I usually walk around at 155 pounds for my first couple fights at 135 pounds.”
The topic of weight-cutting in MMA will never fully go away, but Kenney just sees it as a necessary evil.
“Whether it’s judo, kickboxing or Muay Thai, people cut weight,” Kenney added. “I learned to do it at a young age and lost five to six pounds at age nine, and I won at nationals in wrestling. I’m pretty good about cutting weight, and put some rules in place to reduce crazy weight cuts. I think getting 20 pounds over and having to cut 15 to 16 pounds of water weight is not healthy.”
While weight-cutting is a serious issue in the sport of MMA, it’s always good for a fighter to bring some humor into the equation. Kenney is realistic about his future, and he can certainly crack a joke about it.
”The closer I get to 30, the closer I get to 135 pounds,” quipped Kenney.