Kevin Casey Talks About His Humbling Experience of Leaving Strikeforce and Moving to The Ultimate Fighter
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 01.23.2013
Casey struggled to get fights since the loss to Matt Lindland...
MMAjunkie spoke with The Ultimate Fighter season 17 contestant Kevin Casey. Casey won his first fight to get into The Ultimate Fighter house against Eldon Sproat which was shown on the premiere episode this week. Here are some highlights:
How things have changed for him from his run in Strikeforce: "For me, it definitely was a humbling experience fighting for Strikeforce and being there, fighting in main events, and then to have to go back to the smaller circuit and start from the bottom, having a tough time getting fights and not being where I was at. At the same time, it definitely made me much more of a hungry athlete. Once I get there again, I'll definitely know the right things to do and the moves I want to make."
Casey on how he has struggled to remain active since he lost to Matt Lindland in Strikeforce: "The most difficult thing is I felt like I was in a situation where for the smaller circuit, I was a little over experienced. Most of the guys who were fighting on the smaller circuit were looking to build their records up to get noticed from a larger event. At the same time, the smaller events aren't paying a lot of money, so no one really wants to take a tough fight for $1,500 – myself included. So a lot of guys would accept a fight and then do a little investigation and the next thing I know they're backing out of fights. So within the last two-and-a-half years, I've had pretty much two fights where I was able to make a little bit of money and build the record up a little bit. I'm definitely grateful for the opportunity to come to 'The Ultimate Fighter' and showcase my talent and be amongst a lot of great fighters. There's a lot of talent in the house, and to be champion of this tournament would definitely be a great reward for me."
Casey on training with Black House and Rafael Cordeiro: "After my loss to Matt Lindland, I definitely had to reevaluate my training because I felt like there were things in that fight that I could have done to make my jiu-jitsu more effective. So I've been working at Black House under master Rafael Cordeiro, and there are a great group of guys there who come through on a regular basis: Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva and a lot of tough guys who have really helped me bring myself to a comfortable situation with my striking, and that just makes my ground game even more effective."
Casey's thoughts on being a part of the tweaked tournament for this season of The Ultimate Fighter: "I look at this as a great opportunity to be a part of something that's not your everyday MMA tournament. Also. it's a way at the same time to get the general public to know a little more about you as opposed to just seeing you as a fighter who fights for one night. Most fighters only fight two or three times a year, so this is a great way for me to kind of get across my personality and the other dimensions of Kevin Casey."
Casey's outlook on fighting: "For one, I'm always humble at heart. When it comes to getting in the ring and putting my life on the line, you're fighting a fierce defender of everything I represent. When I get into the ring and it becomes time to put my name and my life on the line, I'm a king, and I'm not giving anything away easily."