A.J. McKee looking to push the pace vs. Roberto de Souza: ‘He hasn’t fought anybody my caliber yet’

A.J. McKee looking to push the pace vs. Roberto de Souza: ‘He hasn’t fought anybody my caliber yet’

A.J. McKee sees his fight against Roberto de Souza as a stern test for the both of them.

McKee (19-1) meets Rizin lightweight champion de Souza (14-1) on Saturday’s Rizin 40 headliner at Saitama Super Arena just outside Tokyo. The main card will air in the U.S. on Showtime via tape-delay and the fights will take place in Rizin’s ring under the promotion’s ruleset.

Like McKee, de Souza only has one loss on his resume. But the former Bellator featherweight champion expects to present de Souza’s toughest challenge to date.

“He’s good,” McKee said during the Rizin 40 pre-fight press conference. “I feel he hasn’t fought anybody in my caliber yet, so I’m looking forward to just bringing him a good fight and pushing the pace.”

He continued, “It’s gonna be a fun fight, it’s gonna be an exciting fight. It’s gonna be a fight where I think the people are gonna love it, I’m gonna love it, I’m just gonna be out there having fun, doing what I love to do. It’s a ring, so for me it’s gonna be a bit different but for this fight in particular, I’m not too worried about it.”

De Souza has finished all his professional wins, 10 of them by submission. McKee acknowledges the Brazilian-Japanese’s high-level jiu-jitsu game, but thinks he’ll be able to match it.

“He’s got phenomenal ground game,” McKee said. “I don’t think I’ve fought anybody with the caliber of jiu-jitsu that he has. I think this is gonna be a great test. I feel I have just as equal jiu-jitsu as him. So when we hit the ground, it’s gonna be a surprise for everyone – even for myself. I’m intrigued to see how it goes. He’s very slick, he pops out with that triangle and transfers to his armbar very well. So yeah, this is gonna be a fun one.”

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie