Next Generation’s Rhys McKee takes part in a one-night-4-man featherweight tourney this weekend at BattleZone 13 in Dublin. The 19-year-old, despite his relatively young age, is an experienced competitor on the amateur scene in Ireland and has an overall record of 7-3.
I had the chance to speak with Rhys recently about the upcoming tournament and his thoughts on the Irish MMA scene.
Alan Murphy: Hi Rhys, you are competing in a one night tourney at BZ 13. How do you prepare your body for competing a couple of times in one night?
Rhys McKee: Cardio is never an issue for me but I wanted to make sure my body was used to that cool down period and then going again so we done a mock tournament in our sparring sessions. We did three solid rounds, rested and then did it again. Doing that and upping my training I’m more than ready to compete twice in one night, could even squeeze few more in there (haha).
AM: Is a one night tourney something that excites you? And what do you hope to gain from it?
Rhys: Massively! I’m looking forward to the whole thing. Even finding out my first opponent and then hearing who else made the final. It will be an amazing experience, especially to do it on such a great card too. What I will from it gain is the BattleZone strap!
AM: Who do you feel is your biggest competition and why?
Rhys: I haven’t looked much into that as there has been a few changes. As far as I know they’re all unbeaten but I’ve had double the fights as some of these guys so I’m not bothered about that really. I’d say Valdrim (Lubishtani) is the other main favourite alongside me. He fought a teammate of mine recently and looked good, but I don’t rank any of them above me to be honest.
AM: Some amateur fighters seem to avoid losing at all costs in the sense that they accept ‘easier fights’. What are your thoughts on this? Are you afraid of losing fights?
Rhys: Exactly, some are scared to lose. They break a toe nail and pull out against a good opponent because they know they might pick up a loss. I think that if you’re asking for or picking the easier match-ups then something is badly wrong. There’s a few of them about at the minute. I’m never scared to lose but it’s certainly not something I accept before I go in, the win is the only thing on my mind.
AM: When do you plan on turning professional?
Rhys: This year all being well.
AM: What do you think of the current landscape for pro fighters on the local scene in Ireland? What changes would you like to be made in order to improve it?
Rhys: I’d like to see more pro fights to be honest. I’ll use Andy Young as an example, this kid is dying for a fight and can’t get one! I know people have personal things and maybe can’t fight but I’d like to see more of the pros being active and competing more.
(Title Image via Rhys’ facebook page).