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Grateful McKee's pride remains undented despite quickfire defeat in 'amazing' debut



No excuses: Rhys McKee took the fight at short notice

No excuses: Rhys McKee took the fight at short notice

Zuffa/LLC via Getty Images

No excuses: Rhys McKee took the fight at short notice

Ballymena man Rhys McKee reflected on "an amazing week and experience" despite his UFC debut lasting just over three minutes on Saturday night.

The Ballymena man was stopped by Khamzat Chimaev - one of the UFC's best prospects - in the first round of their welterweight encounter.

The 24-year-old accepted the fight in Abu Dhabi with the Swedish wrestling specialist on only six days notice and he certainly won't forget his first appearance for the premier mixed martial arts organisation.

Chechen-born Chimaev took no time in making his intentions clear, shooting in for the takedown immediately.

The end in the welterweight bout came three minutes and nine seconds in.

McKee said: "It's been an amazing week and experience.

"I am extremely proud of myself and my team. We turn up with no excuses. Six days or 66 days, we will always be ready.

"What an amazing game. For the whole country who supported me, I am eternally grateful. Onto the next one.

"Congratulations to Khamzat Chimaev, a real beast. I look forward to seeing him fight again. I will be back better as I always am."

Chimaev was clinching the eighth win of his career as he handed McKee a third defeat.

"I can fight after one hour maybe," Chimaev said after the fight.

"If somebody is injured, I'm here.

"I'm going to smash everybody. It doesn't matter. I'm going to smash everybody.

"How many fighters in the welterweight division? I can smash all of them."

More than 100 fighters flew to Abu Dhabi's Yas Island for four events this month and they faced strict safety protocols after arriving.

Belfast Telegraph