Rhys McKee: Ballymena fighter targets first UFC win in Atlantic City

Rhys McKee says he is ready to "finally put a good chapter" in his UFC career before his welterweight contest against Chidi Njokuani on Saturday.

The Ballymena fighter is aiming to bounce back from defeat by Ange Loosa in his UFC comeback fight in Paris four months ago.

That was his third loss in three UFC fights, but he is determined to finally get a win in Atlantic City.

"I'm excited to perform and get the show started," McKee told BBC Sport NI.

"I know how good I am, and the fact that I haven't shown the American world and the UFC world how good I am is very much in my mind.

"There is nowhere else I should be fighting than the UFC, so it is time to show that."

'I don't care how I win this fight'

McKee was beaten by Khamzat Chimaev and Alex Morono in his earlier foray into the UFC in 2020 before his return in September saw him lose to Swiss opponent Loosa by a unanimous decision.

The 28-year old says he is desperate to pick up his first win against American Njokuani "by hook or by crook".

"All I need to do is get this over the line. I fought some of the guys that no-one else would fight, who are still very much in the UFC, active and making runs towards the top 10 in the world," McKee explained.

"I haven't fought dummies or idiots, I've fought real guys, and in my head it has always been a compliment from the UFC that those are the guys that I am fighting at that level, but now it is about getting over the line.

"I don't care how I win this fight, it just has to be a win."

Despite the elevated stakes of the fight, McKee does not feel any additional pressure against Njokuani, who has won two and lost three of his UFC fights.

"Every fight is a must-win and I'm coming off the back of a loss, so this is even more of a must-win fight. I know my back is against the wall, but it is time to perform," McKee said.

"This fight is huge, for an Irishman to fight in front of an American crowd, where the UFC was born, is a massive deal and to do it against such a testing opponent is the stuff that dreams are made of."

'My relentless style will be his kryptonite'

McKee is hoping for a fast start against 35-year old Njokuani, whose three UFC defeats have come in his last three fights.

"My approach has been slightly off and it's no secret that I have sometimes found my way into the fight, but this time it is a sprint from the first bell," McKee said

"Chidi is dangerous, he brings a wealth of experience, but I believe my relentless style is his kryptonite.

"He's a technician for sure, but I just feel that I have more options than he does and I plan to win the fight by whatever means."