AJ McKee has his sights set on Daniel Straus and the featherweight title by the year’s end.
McKee has been on the fast track to success since turning pro just under two years ago. He separated himself from the pack of prospects by finishing his first five opponents, with only one of them going past the first round. In his most recent outing McKee went the full three rounds for just the first time in his career and was able to pick up plenty of positives from the experience.
“There was a lot going on before that fight,” McKee told The Fight House. “Just knowing I can go three fives and know even on my worst day I can turn things around and adapt to the situation I have in front of me. It was a great fight, a great learning experience. For three fives I wasn’t even tired.”
After an active 2016 McKee is on the cusp of breaking into Bellator’s top five in the featherweight division. He was supposed to take a major jump in competition late last year against Emmanuel Sanchez, but the fight was cancelled. As far as McKee is concerned though everyone he faces is just a stepping stone on his way to the title and he is open to whatever gets him his shot.
“Whoever the fight fans want to see, who ever Bellator throws at me, it’s up to them,” McKee said. “Straus is always the goal, that’s the man with the belt, that’s the man of the year right now, so he is my overall goal. Every one else is pretty much a stepping stone to get to Straus. By the end of the year I want to be in the cage with him and getting my hand raised and get that belt around my waist.”
At just 21 years old his growth both physically and mentally occurs by leaps and bounds and it is visible in every fight. McKee has every intention of going down as the greatest of all time and believes by years end Straus will no longer be a competitive fight for him.
“Right now I feel like it would be a great fight. It would be very entertaining. A couple more fights, a couple more good camps to get me prepared, working real hard over the next year, and by the end of this year I will be able to go in there and dominate, instead of having it be a dog fight or entertaining fight it will just be an entertaining fight on my half instead of both of us being entertaining.
“Once that strap touches my waist it’s not going anywhere until I decide to go up to 55.”
McKee is set to take on Brandon Phillips this Friday at Bellator 171 in Wichita, Kansas at the Kansas Star Arena.