After a successful two-year run as an amateur, women’s 125-pound prospect Cortney “Cast Iron” Casey made her pro debut at XFC 24 in June and defeated veteran Kelly Warren via submission in the first round.
“It went great because I won, so I can’t really complain about that,” said Casey. “The preparation was hard because it was my first pro fight, it was a long camp for me, and I had to make sure that I peaked at the right time.
“I feel I implemented my game plan well, so I’m happy with it.”
Casey was able to take advantage of an error on Warren’s behalf to get a rear naked choke just over three minutes into the fight.
“I think she got underhooks and tried to throw me and I kind of snuck out and came out the back and had faith to jump up and take the opportunity to capitalize on her mistake the best I could,” said Casey.
The win convinced the XFC that Casey was ready for something bigger. Thus, she will be facing Pearl Gonzalez (1-1) for the promotion’s 125-pound championship on Friday night in Nashville, Tenn.
“Both of us are very new to the pro ranks, so just being able to have a belt on the line it will bring more attention to it and more females will take the jump into the pros,” said Casey.
“I don’t think a lot of girls know there is a home for them here. There is Invicta, but other than that, the XFC is a great place for women.”
Even with the added pressure of a championship on the line, Casey told MMAWeekly.com that she doesn’t feel she has to do anything out of the ordinary in order to get the win.
“I’m not thinking that because it’s a title fight that I’m going to do things different,” she said. “I’m just going to go out and implement my game plan the best I can and hope I come out with the W.”
When it comes to Gonzalez, Casey has to make sure she keeps the fight where she wants it to get the win.
“I think just push the pace and implement my game plan (is the key to victory),” said Casey. “I think she’s a better wrestler than a boxer, so I want to keep it on my feet as much as I can, but if it goes to the ground, I’m very well prepared for that.
“I think it’s going to be a brawl, action-packed and exciting anywhere it goes.”
After a busy 2012 that saw her fight six times, with only one fight in 2013 heading into Oct. 18, Casey is more than willing to step up again if the XFC calls before year’s end.
“It’s up to the XFC and what they want to do,” she said. “I’m just happy for this opportunity, and if they want me to fight again before the end of the year, then I’ll definitely fight for them.”