Bellator featherweight champion A.J. McKee said the result will be the same when he faces off against former champ Patricio Pitbull in the main event of Bellator 277 on Friday night.
McKee captured the 145-pound title, as well as the Bellator featherweight grand prix title and a cool $1 million payday, in their first meeting at Bellator 263, where he submitted Pitbull in the first round.
Speaking at the pre-fight media day in San Jose, McKee said he’s carrying the added weight of being the champion into the matchup, but he said that he has a lot more in his gameplan than he revealed in the first fight.
“I’d say there’s a bit more pressure because obviously in the first fight, that was our first exchange, we didn’t get to see much in that fight,” he said.
“Everybody is like, ‘well, maybe he just got caught.’ No – it went just the way it was supposed to go.
“So, this second one, it’s going to be hard to trump that, but yeah man, I’m just going to go in there and do what I do best. That’s the key.”
After his definitive first-round finish of Pitbull in their first fight, McKee said he wants to double down on his superiority over the Brazilian to cement himself as Bellator’s pound-for-pound star, and stake his claim to the crown of being the best featherweight on the planet.
Stating his aim for the fight, McKee declared, “Solidifying myself as the best 145-pounder in the world. To do it in such a fashion two times in a row, back-to-back.
“Even if he has eight months to train for it, it’s not going to make a difference. I got a job to do, man. I’m hungry. I got goals, ambitions, life goals that I’ve set for myself.”
After defeating Pitbull in Inglewood last time out, he returns to California for the rematch, where San Jose’s SAP Center will play host to the most eagerly anticipated rematch in Bellator history.
It’s a fight that has McKee as excited as the fans who will pack the stands to watch it live.
“I’m looking forward to this fight,” he said.
“He’s been the man since I first stepped in this cage so hats off to him.
“But as I’ve constantly said, it’s a new era – a new wave. And waves… they come with some power.”