AJ McKee is unbeaten, and has hopes he can take on someone who shares that distinction with him. Fightful MMA's Daniel Yanofsky was on the scene for Logan Paul vs. Floyd Mayweather's fight this weekend and actually spoke to McKee, who stated that he hopes to eventually fight Mayweather. McKee discussed other topics that include his surgery, Patricio Pitbull and more.
How he's feeling post-surgery:
AJ: "Man, I completely forgot about surgery. I'm doing great, man. Just continuing to perfect my craft, get better and better inside and outside of the gym. Ya know, that's one thing my dad pushes me for. Don't just be great in the gym, be great outside of the gym. That's a big part but I'm ready, man, I woke up this morning and went and ran three miles. My father says 'stay ready, don't get ready', so we just stay ready, ya know?"
Preparing for fights during a pandemic, if there's any changes:
AJ: "I don't think so. Originally, when I was scheduled to fight in June, I was probably 70 or 80 percent ready then but like I said, it's $1 million dollars and my world title's on the line, so at the end of the day, I was gonna fight regardless but having those extra three, four months actually just solidified how 100 percent prepared and ready that I was. It was phenomenal and there's just no worry, no fear, no concern, just go in there and do what you do and that's put on a great show."
If there's extra pressure to fulfill his father's dream of becoming a world champion:
AJ: "I wouldn't say it's pressure, just knowing my destiny, knowing my calling. My father being eight years undefeated and so forth and being the great fighter that he was and with his career going the way it was, I felt that continuing the legacy, but not just continuing it but making sure that the last name McKee gets the recognition that it deserves in the sport, ya know? My dad wanted to fight anybody and everybody from Royce Gracie, I've watched him train with Randy Couture, Chuck Lidell, Tito Ortiz, like anybody that you can think of, I've seen in my gym and I'd watch my dad at 155 pounds, pick these guys up and slam them and I'm like 'dad, why aren't you a superstar like them?' So, I think that's kind of a personal thing that's fueled me to make sure that the last name McKee is respected in this sport and to anyone that's not a casual because everyone throws around the term 'casual', ya know what I mean? Everyone that doesn't watched Mixed Martial Arts, they don't know who I am and I feel that once they do, that's what I've worked for, that's what I'm working for, to be the champ, to be the people's champ and just to be known, ya know what I mean, to make sure the last name gets the recognition that it deserves in this sport because back in the day, they were fighting in gi's, my dad was in wrestling shoes with blonde hair and blonde shorts. So, it's fun, I just can't wait to continue the legacy, the tradition and be a champion like my father. That's always been my dream, to be a champion, so to be able to achieve two of my goals, to be a champion and get a $1 million check at the same time, Pitbull's gonna have to fight for his life when we get in thet cage."
If he thinks Pitbull respects him as a fighter:
AJ: "I think that's the fearful part for him because he doesn't know which AJ he's gonna get. I think he respects me, at first he thought I was that young, mouthy kid but then he started to see the business side of me and I started dressing properly but I don't have any problems with him but at the end of the day, he knows I'm coming for his neck. So, there's no hard feelings, he's a great champ, he's held that belt long enough but he knows it, the new era's here and this new wave, man, it's a wave and it'll take you for a ride."
If he beats Pitbull, will he go for Pitbull's lightweight title as well?:
AJ: "F***ing right! That's the funny thing, so before [Conor] McGregor did what he did and become 'champ champ', I think there's a couple interviews way back then, I said I was gonna be a champ champ, ya know? So, these are dreams and accolades that I want personally for myself. So, forsure, after I get the 145 pound title, I'm not stopping, I need that 155 pound title. I guess we'll sit down, talk and see how things play out but yeah, I'm gung-ho about it, I'm taking all of your belts, all of your possessions."
If he'd defend both the 145 and 155 pound titles if he were to win them:
AJ: "Ahhh, we'd have to see. At that point, I don't feel as if there's anything left with Bellator for me at the 145 pound division. So, honestly, I'd like to test my skills, maybe unify the belts and hey Uncle Dana, I'll pull that ticket and you pull another ticket and let's do something and see the best of the best, I guarantee you don't wanna do that because, McKee's not to be messed with in the cage. I'd love to test myself against the best fighters, whether it's ONE Championship, PFL, UFC, I just wanna fight the best of the best and at the moment, I feel as if Patricio Pitbull is one of the best 145 pounders in the world but he's not better than me, so once I get that achievment, that accolade under my belt, it'll open up a lot of doors for me and like I said, like boxing, lets unify those belts and see who the best of the best is."
His thoughts about the celebrity vs pro boxing fights:
AJ: "It's awesome because at the end of the day mixed martial arts is not like boxing. Boxing is a sport certified, there's certain things on the backend for fighters to take care of the boxers, mixed martial arts is going to eventually continue to grow and come into that. I feel unifying the belts would also help with that, it brings everybody together as one in a sense. So, I'm excited, man, I think just being able to do that and be the first perosn to do that and obviously being undefeated, it helps me to be able to say 'hey, this is what we need to do' because who else is left? I think it's gonna work out, especially in the entertainment world, ya know? I'm not a well know fighter to the average person, I don't have a YouTube following like Jake or Logan Paul but that's their realm of work that's brought them the opportunity to bring their money and flow into the boxing world and Floyd [Mayweather] is all about the money, of course, so it goes hand in hand. As far as that fight, that's like asking me what'll happen if I fight a NASCAR racer, like we know what's gonna happen, it's the best of the best versus, no disrespect, but a YouTuber. Anyone has a puncher's chance but at the end of the day, that man's been doing this his entire life and that 'gotcha hat' trick lit another fire under Floyd so I'm interested to see what happens and how things play out. I think we're gonna see a finish from Floyd, thought, definitely."
Who he'd fight outside of MMA, if given the opportunity:
AJ: "Floyd Mayweather all day. His 0 versus my 0. No disrespect to be the best of the best, like oh, I wanna fight you because you're the best and I wanna be better than you but you're the best at your sport, I'm the best at my sport and I wanna test myself in your sport because your sport is a part of my sport. Being able to throw your hands is a big part of mixed martial arts, so I would love to go out there and test my skills with Floyd. On top of that, I feel it would bring me the recognition that I need along with, obviously, the money, ya know what I mean? The bigger following you got, the more money you got, so, it's all about the views and I feel that it would kind of set me over the edge of 'okay, he's the face of MMA now, not just Bellator but mixed martial arts'. When you think of boxing, you think of what? Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather and a couple other GOAT's but those are the people that made an impact on the sport just so broadly that I think noone's really done that in mixed martial arts yet with an undefeated record. So, that's always been my key and my goal, be the Floyd Mayweather of MMA."