Featured Video Play Icon

Rhys McKee Welcomes Justin Burlinson Cage Warriors Belfast Challenge: “I’m the biggest fight in that division!”

Watch the full video interview with Rhys McKee via the link above.


Rhys McKee welcomes Justin Burlinson’s challenge to a fight at Cage Warriors Belfast on June 25th.

Burlinson made a successful return to Cage Warriors last weekend, scoring a 2nd-round submission over Daniel Skibiński in the main event of CW135. Following the win, Burlinson put the Irishman in his crosshairs in his post-fight interview with Edith Labelle:

“Next fight I want Rhys McKee, Belfast, for the title!” Burlinson announced.

Speaking to MyMMANews.com, McKee welcomed the call out.

“The only one that makes sense is Burlinson,” McKee explained.

After an unsuccessful two-fight stint in the UFC, McKee delivered arguably a career-best performance vs Aleksi Mäntykivi in his Cage Warriors return last October. Looking to make a big enough splash to command interest from the UFC matchmakers once again, “Skeletor” was frustrated by what he saw as a lack of exciting options in the Cage Warriors 170lbs division.

“The Cage Warriors welterweight was shocking for a while! I think when I came back into it, there was no one really there. So now it’s definitely spicing up. There’s definitely names there that make a lot more sense than 6 months ago.”

Burlinson’s performance in particular drew the attention of the Ballymena native. McKee was watching with anticipation too, expecting the victor to target him for the Belfast card.

“Burlinson had to overcome a lot of adversity in the first round. There was a time where I thought it was near finished. So, I was impressed!.”

“When Skiba and Burlinson fought, I knew whoever wins, surely they’ll go on the mic and they’ll say my name, because I’m the biggest fight in that division. If people say otherwise, they’re just naive.”

With a number of Cage Warriors welterweights building together title-contending CVs, McKee believes that Burlinson is the only opponent that makes sense right now.

“Matthew Bonner had no chance of getting that fight. Figlak hasn’t done enough or beaten enough top guys yet.”

“I believe it’s him, and Burlinson called me out too. He obviously wants it. He put my name in his mouth. I’m not a man to shy away, so let’s get it done. I know he’s keen for Belfast, and so am I.”

With Ian Garry having risen to the UFC ranks, the Cage Warriors welterweight title has laid vacant since July 2021. While Burlinson is eager to set up a showdown with McKee with a belt on the line, the Irishman is apathetic to the prospect of winning gold. For the 26-year-old Next Generation NI fighter, his sole focus is putting on UFC-worthy performances over high-calibre opposition.

“I think it’s a fantastic fight. I wasn’t as keen at doing the title fight. It wasn’t a real motivator for me, the title fight. I just want to fight in Belfast and have a big fight, but I know Burlinson is very focused on the title. So, if we are going to do that, I don’t mind.”

“I don’t want to have this belt and then be like there’s this guy. Right, well now I have to go defend it. And then there’s another guy, and before you know it, you’ve diverted four fights. My goal here is to go in, flatline people and go back to the UFC. I don’t care about the belt, and I mean that in the nicest way, because the belt is a massive motivator for a lot of people. If Burlinson wants the fight, I believe he’ll probably want it for the belt”

With that being said, McKee certainly won’t say no if there are championship stakes on the line in a prospective fight vs Burlinson.

“It’s never not a nice thing to have a nice shiny belt sitting in the house!”

“I’m just UFC driven still!”

It remains to be seen if McKee vs. Burlinson comes to fruition. Watch this space!

Do Not Sell My Personal Information