MMA

Ballymena Man Set To Make UFC Debut On Six Days' Notice

Ballymena Man Set To Make UFC Debut On Six Days' Notice

Rhys McKee is set to make his UFC debut next weekend on just six days' notice.

The 24-year-old from Ballymena will take on Khamzat Chimaev at the promotion's 'Fight Island' venue in Abu Dhabi.

McKee only discovered that he would be fighting the Dagestani via a video call with his manager Graham Boylan on Saturday.

"Get your corner team ready, you're going to be in London next week and fighting on 'Fight Island' Saturday night in the UFC," Boylan told a stunned McKee.

"You'd better start speaking to your coaches because you'll be getting flights, paperwork, everything in the next 24 hours."

McKee didn't know much about his opponent when told his identity, simply responding, "Don't know, don't care. Let's do it".

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McKee's last fight was at Cage Warriors 110 in Cork back in November when he defeated Hakan Foss after a minute of the first round.

Before that bout, McKee - 10-2 in his pro MMA career - told Balls "with the right performance, the UFC call could be a lot closer than people think". Eight months on, he got the call.

The fight will also be a quick turnaround for Chimaev. In his UFC debut last week, the 26-year-old - 7-0 in his career - defeated John Phillips via submission in the second round.

After that victory, UFC president Dana White said that Chimaev had asked him for another bout in Abu Dhabi. "I said why not? Yeah. All right. Letโ€™s do it," was White's response.

McKee's UFC bow will come a week after another announced his retirement from MMA. Following his defeat in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Donegal-born Joe Duffy called time on his fighting career.

See Also: Donegal's Joe Duffy Retires From MMA After UFC Defeat

PJ Browne
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