UFC 283: “More Educated” Terrance McKinney Ready to Show He Belongs with Top 15

Terrance McKinney returns to UFC lightweight action this weekend at UFC 283, where he’ll be met by a highly touted Brazilian prospect in Ismael Bonfim.

The bout will mark McKinney’s first appearance in the octagon since his first-round submission victory over Erick Gonzalez last August, and he’ll be looking to make a statement as he enters hostile territory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“I’m tapping into my inner Charles Oliveira, plus I’m black so I’m tapping into Anderson Silva as well,” McKinney (13-4) told Cageside Press regarding his recently dyed hair. “I’m going to tap into both sides of the force, and come out with the most spectacular performance that Brazil has ever seen.”

Bonfim (18-3), was defeated by current UFC lightweight Renato Moicano via rear-naked choke in 2014. He has not lost a fight since, though McKinney believes that UFC bouts are fought at a higher level, and that Bonfim will have his hands full in his debut with the promotion.

“He likes to get down, but when I’ve seen him fight better competition, he can’t get [his opponents] out of there. I don’t think his power really carries over, probably because of those extra small gloves he uses,” McKinney said. “I can’t wait to get in there and share the cage with him, and put this dude to sleep.”

With a victory over Bonfim on Saturday night, McKinney would make a strong case to crack the lightweight division’s top 15, and believes that he is due a ranked opponent his next time out.

“If Paddy [Pimblett] is scared and doesn’t want to fight, I understand. I’ll stop bullying him. I’ll ask for a ranked opponent, whether that’s Grant Dawson, Renato Moicano – Tony Ferguson would be a good fight,” McKinney said. “Any of those guys, after this fight – going out there and putting on a dominant performance, getting this guy out of there, I think I’ve proven myself and it’s time to give me a ranked opponent.”

In addition to having his WarriorCamp MMA team by his side throughout fight week, one of McKinney’s close friends, UFC light heavyweight Jamahal Hill, is also fighting on the card. Hill looks to secure UFC gold in the main event of the evening, when he takes on former champion Glover Teixeira in a five-round light heavyweight championship bout. 

“We fought on the Contender Series together — we actually fought on a lot of cards together, and we’re doing it again now,” McKinney said. “I have to stick with him, I think he’s blessed with god-given talent. He just hits different.”

This fight with Bonfim will likely be a crucial one in McKinney’s path to securing match-ups with the upper echelon of the UFC’s exciting lightweight division, as McKinney looks to put on the performance of a lifetime in front of thousands of Brazilian fans at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro.

“It’s time to show the world that I’m right there with the top 15,” McKinney said. “Fans have seen a glimpse of it, and I’m more educated now. I think we’re really going to start making waves this year.”

Terrance McKinney faces Ismael Bonfim at UFC 283 on January 21, 2023 at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.