Coming off of his first two years in MMA undefeated, featherweight AJ McKee Jr. had a lot of expectations placed upon him for his 2017 campaign, and did not disappoint.
In what was his busiest year to date, McKee fought four times in 2017 and picked up wins in all of them, via just about every way he could; with a TKO, a submission, and two unanimous decisions.
“It was a good year for growing and learning,” McKee told MMAWeekly.com. “Seeing what path I want to go, what to do. Pushing through things and really having to dig deep sometimes; pulling things out of areas that some people can’t dig deep to. It was a great year and I’m ready to get into the next.”
“For me I wouldn’t say there was really pressure of being a main event,” said McKee. “It’s a fight. Being in that spotlight motivates me more.
“Being under-trained for a fight like that, that’s when you get worried. That’s when things start to mess with you mentally. It was a great experience and I’m looking forward to doing it many more times and stealing the show as always.”
McKee (10-0) will look to keep his undefeated streak going when he takes on veteran Justin Lawrence (11-4) in the featherweight co-main event of Bellator 197 in St. Charles, Missouri, on April 13.
“Justin is a great opponent,” McKee said. “Everyone always says I’ve fought nobody, so it’s a great experience to go in there and fight him. He’s fought some of the top guys in our division.
“It’s great to get a full eight-week camp in, and be able to go in there 100-percent. I’ve taken fights at 50-percent readiness and just played around, so being able to take a full camp is just phenomenal. No disrespect to him, but I’m coming to whoop his ass.”
Having worked his way to a double digit winning streak to start his career, McKee is looking to continue to break new ground and work his way towards a championship in 2018.
“I’m getting that belt this year,” said McKee. “That’s how I’ll top last year. I want to keep that winning streak and break some records.
“I’m really looking forward to doing a father and son (on the same card) fight. No one has competed together aside from baseball. I’m really looking forward to making history with that with my dad, and getting myself my first belt this year. Those are my goals for 2018.”