In three fights in 2015, McKee managed first-round finishes in all of them, quickly building a place for himself in one of Bellator’s most competitive divisions.
“It’s a great experience being pro now,” McKee told MMAWeekly.com. “It’s a different feel having five-minute rounds as opposed to amateur where you’d have three two-minute rounds or three three-minute rounds.
“Luckily I haven’t been out of the first round yet, but it’s a different pace. I feel I can go as much as I want at that pace and keep going non-stop.”
McKee feels the difference in competition doesn’t so much come from turning pro from amateur, but is a fluid thing that happens against every opponent.
“Every fight there’s a jump,” said McKee. “Everybody fights differently. Everybody has their own style or their own strategy with something.
“I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing because I feel I’m doing something right. I’m going to continue to keep my head on my shoulders right, keep working hard, and will have a good future in the near future.”
McKee (3-0) will look to remain undefeated as he travels to Torino, Italy, to take on Danilo Belluardo (5-3) in a main card featherweight bout on Saturday at Bellator 152.
“I feel I’m the underdog because I’m going on (Belluardo’s) home turf,” said McKee. “I don’t think they’re bringing me to Italy to win. It’s his crowd, and I know that, so I’m going to keep working hard and take myself to victory.
“I’m honestly not sure what he does, so I’m going to go out there and put on a show and stick to myself and what I do best. If you’re worried about what he’s going to do, you’re not focused on yourself enough. I want him to be worried about what I’m going to do.”
After introducing himself to Bellator last year, McKee is looking to establish his place in the company and introducing himself to the world in 2016.
“I ended last year on a good streak, so with this first fight of the year,” said McKee. “My first fight, I felt like I was showcasing my skillset to Bellator, but now I’m showcasing to everyone that watches and follows Bellator.
“I am on that main card. I’m going to be televised. So it’s going to be worldwide recognition for who I am and what I do. I’m excited to go out there and showcase my skills and show them what AJ McKee is all about.”