Looking back on his 2016, featherweight up and comer AJ McKee feels like it was a very productive year, even though he feels he could have done more.
In three fights, McKee was able to pick up all wins, including two finishes, to keep his undefeated streak going at six wins to start his career. Still, there’s always room for improvement in his mind.
“I really got my name out there and proved some points and showed that I’ve got a job to do and a set of goals that I’ve set and that I’m going to do what I’ve got to do to get to it,” McKee told MMAWeekly.com.
“The last fight (against Ray Wood in December) didn’t go as planned, but there was a lot going on with that fight. I still went in there and fought and came out with a win. It was good to know even on my worse day I can pull through and come out with the W.”
While he is not completely satisfied with his unanimous decision win over Wood, McKee is happy to have gotten his first full 15-minute fight out of the way in his pro career.
“I always wondered if I could fight three fives at that pace, so to be able to go in there and do it was pretty easy,” said McKee. “I felt like after the fight I could fight two more fives after that. It was a great experience to have and build on.”
McKee (6-0) will seek to keep his winning ways going when he takes on Brandon Phillips (6-2) in a main card 145-pound bout at Bellator 171 in Mulvane, Kan., on Friday.
“He’s 5’6” with a 59” reach, so I’ve got the height and reach advantage,” McKee said of Phillips. “I’ve got to stay long and keep him away and make him come to me. Just pick him apart if he tries to get to me and put him down.”
For 2017, McKee wants to further both his own legacy, and that of his father Antonio, by working his way towards a featherweight title shot.
“I definitely have to live up to (my father’s) legacy,” said McKee. “He’s always had in mind to make me a better version of him. I really thank him every day for that; thinking ahead and making sure I was prepared and ready to do this.
“(The goal for 2017 is) keep getting these W’s and get back to getting some finishes and get prepared to get that strap around my waist.”