Glendale, AZ — Bantamweight Marcus McGhee enters UFC Vegas 78 this Saturday in search of his second straight victory inside the octagon, and fourth overall.
McGhee (7-1) was a short-notice call-up in his promotional debut back in April, and impressed both in and out of the cage. His submission finish of Journey Newson scored him a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus, while his personality shone throne in his post-fight media duties.
Along the way, “The Maniac” has made stops for regional promotions like RUF and LFA, while training out of The MMA Lab in Arizona. Those smaller shows helped prepare McGhee, especially given his debut came inside the confines of the UFC Apex. Though he’ll be equally ready to fight for a crowd when the time comes.
“It wasn’t a big crowd, it ended up being at the Apex,” McGhee told Cageside Press about his debut, in a recent interview. “So since there wasn’t a big crowd, it was more like a gym atmosphere. But I have had a lot of moments with RUFF and LFA with like big crowds and a lot of support.”
“When it comes time to step in front of a crowd, I feel confident that I’ll be able to show out just like I showed out here in Arizona,” he added.
Next up comes J.P. Buys, who McGhee believes he can finish. Though he understands that nothing is certain in a sport as tumultuous as mixed martial arts.
“I’m always excited to fight, and it’s a fight. It’s a crazy game. There’s no guarantees here. I could train as hard as a I can and still not come out on top,” noted McGhee. “But my plan is to come out on top, and with a finish. I have a lot of expectations of myself, and I have a lot of faith in myself and my abilities. And I do believe I can find that finish, be it on the feet or the ground. That’s what I envision, I envision me finishing the fight.”
That said, McGhee noted that he’s not beholden to the end goal. “Again I don’t like to hold on to too many things. I’m not thinking about what’s going to be the end goal. I’m just planning on going in there the best I can, and then putting all my tool sets up, and we’ll see what happens at the end of the fight. But crazy game, right? There’s no guarantees in this game. Highest highs, lowest lows and I’m here for it all.”
McGhee certainly made an impression in his debut, and at 33, timing in his career will be key. So does he see himself as a ranked bantamweight in the next two years? In a word, yes. In slightly more words, “I would concur. I do agree,” said McGhee. “First off, I have my team. They’re going to push me each and every day. If you look at the guys we have here, all of them are either on the cusp of being top 15, or are in the top 15. Or have been in the top 15. That’s amazing right there.” McGhee also has his faith fuelling him, to show that “you can be a champ in anything in life, period.”
As for how he’d like to be remembered when all is said and done — though he’s far from the end of his career still — McGhee focused on his actions out of the cage.
“I want them to remember that I was a great human being. That I gave back. That I was a good father, that I was a good husband, that I was a good community man. Those are the things that matter the most to me, and I think that’s what should matter most to other people.”
Watch our full interview with UFC Vegas 78’s Marcus McGhee above.