While he acknowledges featherweight champ Patricio Pitbull has had some great wars in Bellator, A.J. McKee is chomping at the pit… er, bit, and cannot wait to get a shot at his rival.
Los Angeles — A.J. McKee’s good friend and training partner Aaron Pico is in the co-main event at Bellator 214 this weekend. Which means McKee is on hand in L.A., lending his support. Yet although he’s not fighting this weekend, there’s always the question of when ‘The Mercenary’ will finally get a crack at the featherweight title. After all, at 13-0, his resume speaks for itself.
McKee spoke to Cageside Press ahead of Bellator 214, and gave the lowdown on Pico, and some words on 145lb champ Patricio Pitbull as well.
On Pico, well, it’s not as if McKee would ever bet against him. “He’s more than ready. He’s got a lot of punching power. So he can go out there and stand up with Corrales,” McKee said of Aaron Pico’s co-main event fight with Henry Corrales on Saturday, “but his wrestling base has always been key. That’s key to Pico.”
“Pitbull, I told him, I’ve got a leash in the kennel waiting for him. When that day comes, you’re ready to go to the pound, let’s go, I’ll walk you in.”
“He’s always on point. Pico’s always been a hard worker, I really have all my faith in him.” he continued. “Not going to go against him, he’s probably one of the hardest workers I know.”
McKee and Pico share a division (and a coach, McKee’s father Antonio), and should the time ever come where they have to face off — well, they won’t. McKee would simply move up to lightweight. But realistically, it’s McKee who is first in line for the belt.
The young star has been gunning for Patricio Pitbill for a while now, and while Pitbull had kept silent in the past, of late, he’s been a little more talkative on social media. Accusing McKee in particular of being fed handpicked opponents, while Pitbull himself looks to move up in weight for a crack at the lightweight title.
A.J. takes it all in stride, however. “He’s going for that double belt, but that’s a young generation thing,” he told us. “He needs to let me do that. Get in there and tango with him, and see where things go.”
“Pitbull, I told him, I’ve got a leash in the kennel waiting for him. When that day comes, you’re ready to go to the pound, let’s go, I’ll walk you in.” Yet despite the trash talk, McKee admitted that “that’s just part of the sport. It evolves. At the end of the day this is entertainment. Nothing against Pitbull, he’s a great champ, he’s held down the Bellator organization for a while. He’s put on some great fights, some great wars. But at the end of the day I’m that young breed and I’m coming to get it.”
Hopefully, that opportunity will come sooner rather than later.