Bellator 277’s A.J. McKee: “I’ve wiped out the whole division. It’s time to get a new hit list.”


“I was getting anxious, sitting on the bench for six, seven months,” A.J. McKee told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview, ahead of his return at Bellator 277 next month.

Mckee (18-0), still just 26-years old, will face Patricio Pitbull in an immediate rematch atop the card in San Jose, with featherweight gold on the line. He admits that, in the lengthy wait to get the fight done, he was constantly reaching out to the promotion to get a fight — and in the end, running it back with Brazil’s Pitbull forestalled a planned move to lightweight.

“I was looking forward to going up to 155, but he released the belt to his brother [Patricky Pitbull], so that kind of diminished that thought. After that, they came to me with the rematch. I’m like, ‘why not? Screw it!’ He thought it was an early finish or whatever, so 45s, one last time, and then hopefully I’m looking to move up with that.”

Pitbull and McKee first met last summer, with the undefeated talent submitting the Brazilian to win 145lb gold, and the promotion’s long-running featherweight grand prix. Given Patricio Pitbull had held lightweight gold as well at the time, a second fight up a division was highly touted, until he relinquished the belt, allowing his brother to capture it.

“Psychologically, knowing I’m the bigger man already, I don’t think he’d be able to fathom fighting me at 155, being faster, stronger, bigger,” McKee said in regards to fighting Patricio up a weight class. “Plus I think he’s banking on ‘oh he’s going to have a hard weight cut,’ because my last weight cut, I came in at 0.2 over, and then I went and hopped on the bike and knocked it off real quick.”

That said, the plan is to defend his title at 145lbs, then likely move up regardless. “I’m looking forward to moving up to 55 at this point, after this. This is icing on the cake. 19 fights at the 145lb division. What more can I ask for? I’ve wiped out the whole division. It’s time to get a new hit list. It’s what the Mercenary does, he takes his opponents out. I think it’s time to move up to another hit list, for sure.”

Watch our full interview with Bellator 277 headliner A.J. McKee above.


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