ROSEMONT, Ill. – The fans weren’t in love with A.J. McKee’s latest win Saturday night. Neither was the new champ-champ.
But McKee isn’t worried about what any of them think. He wants a title shot.
McKee (14-0 MMA, 14-0 BMMA) outworked former featherweight champion Pat Curran (23-8 MMA, 13-5 BMMA) for a unanimous decision on the Bellator 221 main card at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., near Chicago. The main card streamed on DAZN following prelims on MMA Junkie.
It was the biggest win of McKee’s career, though it was met by some boos from fans perhaps wanting something flashy instead of a largely grinding fight. And Patricio Freire (29-4 MMA, 17-4 BMMA), who knocked out Michael Chandler in the main event to add the lightweight title to his featherweight belt, was far from impressed with McKee’s performance.
But McKee said he’s ready to fight for a title – either at featherweight, or by moving up to challenge for Freire’s new lightweight belt.
“What belt do you want to fight me for? ’45? ’55? Which one do you want to give me?” McKee said after the fight. “I just beat a former champ. I’m ready for that belt. He’s ready. Chandler’s going to need some time to recover a little bit – he did get rocked. You can call it an early stoppage. I feel it was an early stoppage. But at the end of the day, he got rocked. … Meanwhile, let me get one of these belts.”
McKee realizes there may be some road blocks to him fighting Freire for either of the titles, though.
For starters, if members of the Bellator brass agree with Chandler and many fans that the stoppage came too early, a lightweight rematch wouldn’t be out of the question.
And then there’s this fall’s planned start of a 16-man Bellator featherweight tournament. If it works the way the current welterweight grand prix has worked, Freire would be part of that – with his 145-pound belt on the line each time he fights.
So if McKee goes into the tournament, too, without first getting a title shot, or without being matched up with Freire in the opening round for the belt, he won’t be happy.
“I would have a little problem with it, honestly, just because it’s not just about the belt,” he said. “It’s about that check at the end of the day. Me going into that tournament as champion, that’s a whole different level of money for me.”
For more from McKee, check out the video above.
- Bellator 221 video highlights: Classic and controversial finishes cap the night
- Bellator 221: MacDonald or Gracie? It doesn't matter to Douglas Lima – mostly
- Trading Shots: What was the point of that Bellator 221 squash match between Jake Hager and the 'beef plant' guy?
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: A.J. McKee wants to fight Patricio Freire for either one of his two Bellator titles