A.J McKee admits he took shortcuts in past training camps, but facing Justin Lawrence at Bellator 197 means there’s “no slacking.”
Undefeated featherweight talent A.J. McKee returns to the Bellator cage Friday night in St. Charles, MO. And rest assured, the Team Bodyshop prospect, training under dad Antonio, has head the criticism about his level of competition thus far. He addressed that subject, and taking part in a full fight camp, in the build-up to the bout.
“This is the easiest weight cut I’ve had,” he told the media ahead of Bellator 197. “The best camp,” he added. “I’ve got good teammates behind me, Aaron Pico, Joey Davis, we’ve got a stacked room, Baby Slice… our room is stacked.”
He also tackled the subject of those asking who, exactly, he’s fought. Despite his 10-0 record, with all wins coming under the Bellator banner, his resume lacks recognizable names.
“It’s not that I haven’t fought anybody,” McKee said, “it’s that I haven’t fought anybody on my level. Me knowing that, I knew I could take shortcuts, go mess around, train three weeks and still pull out a W.” That has changed with current opponent Justin Lawrence (11-4), who arrives at Bellator 197 on a two fight win streak.
“With Justin Lawrence, there’s no shortcuts. He’s made me train, he’s made me really put in a full eight week camp” McKee said. “There’s no slacking. It’s grind grind grind grind for eight weeks. I’m excited, honestly I’m excited to go out there and see what I can do.”
With a win, and probably another one or two over name competition, McKee should be able to put himself in title contention. But first, “it’s time for me to make an example out of someone. Justin Lawrence is that person.”
Check out that and more with A.J. McKee in the video above. Bellator 197 goes down Friday night at the Family Arena in St. Charles, MO. The main card airs live and free on The Paramount Network.