LAS VEGAS – When a microphone was put in front of his face Saturday at UFC on ESPN 40, Terrance McKinney name-dropped one of MMA’s fastest-rising stars.
McKinney (13-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) wants Paddy Pimblett next, either in Abu Dhabi or New York, and he let the world know it after his first-round submission of Erick Gonzalez (14-7 MMA, 0-2 UFC) at the UFC Apex.
“I think it’s just right, man,” McKinney said of the callout at his post-fight news conference. “The fans will love it. I think it’s just about time for us to clash. It’s just a matter of time. Even if it’s not this year, it’s going to come. Me and Paddy will headline a (UFC show). It’s going to be a sellout fight. … I need the crowd, man. I’m like Goku. I need the spirit bomb. Give me that energy. I need the crowd, Dana (White). Come on.”
If the UFC decides to go in a different direction than the Pimblett (19-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC) fight, McKinney has two other names in mind – two of the most experienced lightweights on the roster. Their callouts come from a place of respect, he said.
“Either Jim Miller or Bobby Green. What’s up?” McKinney said. “It would be an honor to fight either one of you guys. You guys are legends. … (I like) just the way they carry themselves outside of the cage and how they’re really about the fighting and how they’re still evolving like true martial artists. Even as they get older, their game is always still evolving. That’s something I look up to.
“… I want to do the respectful route because these guys have been here. They’ve paved the way. I grew up watching them, man. It’d just be an honor to share the cage with them. I just want to test myself as a martial artist. I know with those guys, I can evolve and learn. They’re calculated. They’ve been there, and that’s what I want to experience.”
Miller (35-16 MMA, 24-15 UFC) is on a three-fight winning streak with a finish in each. After TKOs of promotional debutants Erick Gonzalez and Nikolas Motta, Miller submitted Donald Cerrone at UFC 276 in July.
Green (29-13-1 MMA, 14-9-1 UFC) competed in and lost his first UFC headliner in February when he stepped in on short notice to fight Islam Makhachev. The defeat snapped a two-fight streak of wins over Al Iaquinta and Nasrat Haqparast.