Prospect Watch: Casey O’Neill

Spend some time talking to Scotland-born Aussie Casey O’Neill, and you get the sense that she’d rather be at the gym. She’s polite and eloquent, and more than accommodating with her time. But the palpable feeling is that as she’s recounting her martial arts journey to date, her mind is very much on getting back to work — hitting pads, sparring and getting rounds on the mat.

That’s an obsession that O’Neill, who goes by “King” when she steps into the cage, has had since she was a four-year-old, when she convinced her Father Cam, then a professional kickboxer, to let her train alongside him and the other adults. Kickboxing tournaments were to follow, supplemented with jiu-jitsu competitions when the O’Neill family moved from Scotland to Australia. At 14, O’Neill made the transition to MMA, followed quickly by a jump into amateur competition. Today she’s ranked by some outlets as the No. 1 pound-for-pound female fighter in Australia, and has her sights firmly set on becoming the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s next big Australian import.

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