LONDON – Casey O’Neill is happy to see movement in the women’s flyweight division.
Ater Alexa Grasso dethroned longtime flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 285, the division finally has a new titleholder, which O’Neill (9-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) thinks opens the doors for everyone else.
“I thought it was very exciting,” O’Neill said at Wednesday’s UFC 286 media day. “I’m happy for Alexa. She’s a super nice person and that was a super awesome win, the way that she finished her, and it just makes the division more exciting – more eyes on the division, and the rematch is going to be awesome.
“I think that it’s at that stage now after the growth and development where everyone’s catching up to the champion, and everyone just has to be better, and I think that we all are. I think the best prospects in women’s fighting right now are in 125.”
O’Neill returns from a layoff of more than a year to face Jennifer Maia (20-9-1 MMA, 5-5 UFC) on Saturday’s UFC 286 main card at The O2 in London. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews and early prelims on ESPN+.
O’Neill will be taking on a former title challenger, and sees a win over Maia as a great step toward title contention.
“I asked for this fight. I thought it would be a great fight for me,” O’Neill said. “Before I got injured, I was going to fight Jessica Eye, who was a former title challenger who’d fought for the belt. I thought that was a good next step for me. So Jennifer Maia was a good opponent.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 286.
Casey O’Neill: Alexa Grasso’s win over Valentina Shevchenko ‘makes the division more exciting’