A win over Dominick Cruz at UFC 259 is crucial for Casey Kenney’s bantamweight rise

While 2020 was by no means perfect for bantamweight Casey Kenney, it was nonetheless a very fruitful year for him.

Most importantly for Kenney, he was able to stay busy in 2020, picking up three wins in four fights, making for an impressive 5-1 start to his UFC career.

“2020 wasn’t everybody’s year, but it was one of my better years,” Kenny told MMAWeekly.com. “It got me in a position where I want to be in the fight game.

“I got some money in my pocket and gained some new fans; things I wanted to get done in this sport I did in 2020.”

While some might look at a loss as a bad thing, Kenney views it as an opportunity to show his skill set.

“I had my first loss in the UFC to start off in 2020, and everybody wants to see how you respond off a loss and I responded really well,” said Kenney.

“The whole Fight Island thing was pretty cool too, fighting close back to back, and I got my first finish versus (Louis) Smolka as well. I went through a lot in 2020 and it was all good stuff.”

This Saturday in Las Vegas, Kenney (16-2-1) will look to take another step forward in his career when he faces Dominick Cruz (22-3) in a UFC 259 preliminary 135-pound bout.

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“To be a champion you have to beat former champions, and Dominick Cruz is a great place to start,” Kenney said. “He’s a legend in this sport, but I think this is my time, and hopefully we’ll see it very soon.

“I’m fully prepared and time will tell out there, but Dominick Cruz is a huge test and I don’t want to look past him.”

With how deep the 135-pound weight class is in the UFC, Kenney knows he’s going to have to do something to stand out amongst the pack to get to the top of the ladder. With that being said, he’s looking to make Saturday’s bout a springboard for his case to move closer to title contention.

“This (fight) is what I’m focused on right now, but I do plan on getting in a couple more fights this year afterwards,” said Kenney.”

“Bantamweight is one of the hottest divisions right now, so I’m going to need to put together a handful of wins to get that title shot. Dominick Cruz is a huge step in that direction, and I think that will help me get the fights I need to get that title shot, maybe later this year.”

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