Rhys McKee is amongst a long list of Irish talent that is pouring out of Cage Warriors and dominating the UK and Irish MMA scene at the moment.
With a record of 10 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw at just 24-years-old, McKee is already becoming a well experienced and seasoned mixed martial artist.
McKee is the only man to hold a win over of the former Cage Warrior’s lightweight champion Jai Herbert, who recently signed with the UFC. Whilst also fighting top talents, with the likes of Bellator’s Terry Brazier and BAMMA veteran Tim Barnett on his record.
McKee was set to reach the highlight of his career so far, when it was announced he will fight for the vacant Cage Warrior’s welterweight title in front of his home crowd in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to all sporting events across the world, meaning that the CW 115 event would not go ahead and McKee will have to wait a little while longer for his well-deserved title shot.
Interestingly, ‘Skeletor’ never actually received an opponent for the May 16th Belfast card, despite being announced as its main event. McKee was an obvious favourite to win the title and made a bold claim back in November 2019, when he said that he will be the next Irish fighter to sign with the UFC.
There are a few names that come to mind when discussing which Irish fighter will be next to make the move to the UFC, with Ian Garry, Joe McColgan, Paul Hughes and McKee amongst those.
However, McKee believes that he has earned his stripes and this is something that his fellow Irish competitor Ian ‘The Future’ Garry does not disagree with.
“He is 10-2-1, how can I argue with that? He is fighting for the title next, he has beaten Jai Herbert who has already gone to the UFC” he said.
“He absolutely deserves everything he gets, he is working his ass off, he has moved up a weight, he should be there.
“I can’t sit here and be annoyed with that, Rhys was a pro before I was an amateur, do you know what I mean?”
Despite being so young, it is impressive to see how many professional fights McKee has, and these are fights against some top quality and high-calibre opponents.
When you look at the other names who could sign with the UFC soon, McKee’s record is nearly equal to the aforementioned combined.
It was announced earlier this year that the UFC will be returning to Dublin on August the 15th, after a 5-year absence, and this was a card that many Cage Warrior’s fighters were hoping to get on.
However, after the coronavirus lockdown, the President of Cage Warrior’s, Graham Boylan, announced that he does not believe any of his fighters will be making the move to the UFC any time soon.
Many of the athletes have come to terms with this and McKee believes Boylan’s comments make sense. However, he is remaining hopeful that a UFC fighter may drop out from the card and McKee will be ready to step on in short notice.
If the UFC is not on the horizon for this young prospect in 2020, McKee has said he will be eyeing up the Cage Warrior’s title, and would like to defend it against a UFC veteran to prove that his is ready to face any level of competition.
As for the rest of 2020, McKee is unsure as to when he will return to the octagon. However, he states he is often in contact with Boylan and matchmaker Ian Dean, telling them he is eager to return on the very first card back.
Check out what he had to say in the interview above.