AJ McKee Has His Sights Set on Gold in Two Divisions in PFL

AJ McKee is open to big fights at featherweight and lightweight in his new chapter in Bellator under the PFL.

Saturday marks the beginning of a new chapter for AJ McKee, but even he admits there’s a few storylines left to finish as he enters it.  The Bellator lightweight champion who took the world by storm with an undefeated run to win the Grand Prix and shock Patricio “Pitbull” Freire has completed his journey from top prospect to contender who is respected worldwide.

Now under a new umbrella, “The Mercenary” has a new roster of names he could potentially set his sights on.  That said, unfinished business from his days under the Bellator brand could see him target familiar foes sooner rather than later.  With the Bellator events expected to be more spaced out this year, he says potential one offs back at featherweight are options for him.

I’ve always been open to returning to the 145 pound division. I miss having a belt around my waist. At 145 pounds I feel I can jump back into a title shot at any moment so with this event in Saudi I think it’s gearing up for either 45s or 55s. I can kind of go either way. It’s just a matter of sitting down with PFL and seeing what they’d like to do. Sitting down with Bellator, putting together a game plan. If Patricio wins at 145 pounds, there’s a trilogy that’s never happened that everyone wants to see. If Pinedo wins, there’s a AJ McKee who’s the true champ who wants to return and show he’s the best 145 pounder in the world. Period

While there are still decisions to be made, it is noticeable that not all of the stars of the Bellator roster are being immediately brought into the PFL’s regular season structure.  McKee says he is open to a potential turnaround into the regular season in April if all goes well, but that is a business decision that is not solely determined by him after Saturday.  Should he remain in the Bellator International Champions Series in 2024, he acknowledges the fights that are still left to be made from his days in the previous regime at 155 pounds as well.

There’s an Usman Nuramgomedov that is an outstanding undefeated fighter. If I can’t be undefeated, no one can so I’m looking to that 0 on his record. There’s a lot of great names within this 155 pound division. You’ve got Shabliy, there’s a few hitters at 155 pounds that I’ve been wanting to fight that we’ve kind of spoken upon fighting and some things just fell through. We were real close in Bellator’s 155 pound tournament to continue in that hit list and those eight names on that world title but some things fell through the cracks.

While opponents from Bellator are likely on the docket later this year, he first has a fresh face to fight in PFL star and last year’s finalist Clay Collard whom McKee expects to have an exciting bout with.

Clay Collard is a great scrapper, a great boxer and a great fighter. He’s made it to the finals of the PFL’s tournament and in my eyes I see him as the champ since their champ [Olivier Aubin-Mercier] has retired. I’m looking forward to just going in there and doing what I do best and that’s exposing his weakness.

AJ McKee fights Clay Collard this Saturday at the PFL vs Bellator event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.