After suffering first career loss at Bellator 277, what’s next for AJ McKee?

AJ McKee

This past Friday night in the main event of Bellator 277, we saw a rematch for the featherweight title. AJ McKee (18-1) was looking to defend his title against the most decorated fighter in Bellator history Patricio Pitbull (33-5).

The two men fought last July at Bellator 263 and McKee ran through Pitbull and stopped him in the first. McKee is a homegrown star and he was cashing in after knocking off the great Patricio Pitbull. However, he needed to beat him for a second time to really further his legacy.

This fight was much different than the first. Bellator 277’s main event went all five rounds and it showed that Pitbull and McKee are very close in terms of their overall skillset. From the opening bell, I wasn’t a huge fan of the way that McKee came out.

He looked incredibly aggressive like he wanted to finish Pitbull in the first again. Instead of letting things come to him, he was trying to force everything. Meanwhile, Pitbull was calm and collected while picking his shots. Doing this allowed him to bag rounds.

In the later rounds, McKee got more creative with his wrestling and showed how good his top game was. However, he needed to do it sooner. In the end, all three judges gave a decision win to Patricio Pitbull at Bellator 277 and gave McKee his first professional loss.

What’s next after Bellator 277?

This loss deals a huge blow to the plans of the former Bellator champion. McKee openly talked about the fact that he was fighting on his champion’s clause on Friday night. Had he won, he would’ve only had two more fights before free agency.

He openly talked about wanting to make seven figures and one day becoming UFC champion. Well, after losing at Bellator 277, all of the things he had in mind are going to have to wait. So, what is next for McKee?

After the fight, he said that he was done with the featherweight division. Siting difficult weight cuts, McKee said his next fight is going to be at 155 pounds. Personally, I would have loved to see Bellator do the trilogy with Pitbull, but Pitbull doesn’t seem interested in fighting at 155.

That being said, perhaps a fight with Patricky Pitbull could be next. The brother of Patricio is currently the Bellator lightweight champion. Not sure if McKee would get an immediate title shot, but that fight is there. I would personally do that because McKee is still one of the bigger stars in the promotion.