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The Ultimate Fighter Season 31 Features Conor McGregor And Michael Chandler
The Ultimate Fighter

Meet Lightweight Aaron McKenzie | The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs Team Chandler

Get To Know McKenzie And The Rest Of The Season 31 Cast On ESPN+

Aaron McKenzie is just one of many hopefuls looking to make a name for themselves on the most epic season of The Ultimate Fighter yet. With legendary coaches Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler on opposite sides of the Octagon, the stakes have never been higher. Let’s meet the Bantamweights and Lightweights that make up the season 31 cast.

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Pro Record: 11-2-1

Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Fighting Out Of: Lovato’s Jiu-Jitsu and MMA

Age: 34

Quick Stat: LFA Lightweight Champion

What does it feel like to be a part of The Ultimate Fighter season 31?

Man, honestly its amazing. This is what I’ve been working for and dreaming of for the last eleven years. I’m excited to finally be in this room, I’ve only ever seen it on TV and now I’m here. I’m ecstatic!

What was your first reaction when you were told that you were going to be on The Ultimate Fighter?

The first one I got I was like ‘hey is this real’, I texted it to my coach, I texted it to my manager like ‘is this legit’? Because like if you want to get my information and you want to steal it from me, this is how you steal it from me, tell me I’m going to be in the UFC, and I will give you whatever you want to know. As soon as I got that confirmation, I was speechless. I went and woke up my wife, I was so happy. Its everything I ever wanted.

MORE TUF 31 CAST: Mando Gutierrez | Cody Gibson | Rico DiSciullo | Hunter Azure | Nate Jennerman | Kurt Holobaugh | Jason Knight | Austin Hubbard | Trevor Wells | Carlos Vera | Brad Katona

How would you describe your fighting style for someone who hasn’t seen you compete?

Technical and gritty. I’m willing to get down and dirty and do whatever needs to be done to win. I’ve also got this technique behind me that I can trust in and fall back on no matter what. I’m technical and nasty at the same time.

What was your reaction when you heard Michael Chandler and Conor McGregor were going to be the coaches this season?

I thought it was huge. There is no bigger name in MMA then Conor. Everyone knows it, as soon as my friends heard about it, they were like ‘did you hear Conor was going to be an ultimate fighter coach again’, I was like yeah, I did, it’s gonna be sick. For him and Chandler, two of the best soundbites I think in MMA no matter what. Chandler is an amazing fighter as well; I couldn’t be happier with the opportunity to meet both of them, first off, and then to just train with and be coached by either one of them, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m excited.

Get To Know Lightweight Aaron McKenzie | The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs Team Chandler
Get To Know Lightweight Aaron McKenzie | The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs Team Chandler

What would you learn from Michael Chandler?

With Chandler the wrestling background, I know he doesn’t use it in most of his fights just knowing that he’s got that, and he’s got that ability to show you that and teach that to you and help you along that area. I love wrestling, I love getting in there and grinding with people. Just for him to be able to show me some things maybe I’ve never seen before. An opportunity to get better in that area, I would take that any day of the week.

What would you learn from Conor McGregor?

The ability for Conor to market himself is second to none. I hope that I can learn and pick up on even just a little bit of that for myself and use that outside of the cage. I also know that he has a great team behind him as well, you don’t get to the highest level of the sport without a great team behind him and I know that I could pick up on things like that from him as well.

Who inspired you to start MMA? Any former or current fighters that helped develop your passion?

So, it’s funny, there wasn’t anybody in particular that got me into MMA. One of the fights that happened right before I started was actually the card with Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen 2 and I believe Forest [Griffin] was on that one as well, I had seen Forest before but that was the card that happened right before I started fighting. That may have been one of the last fights for [Forest]. Those guys were a huge inspiration, I showed up to the MMA gym the next week and I never stopped going. Those guys right there pushed me over the edge to go seek out the gym and find it and go for it.

What do you think is going to be your toughest challenge in making it to the end?

Probably just being away from my wife. She’s been my backbone, my support. I met her the exact same week I started training MMA so she’s been there for every fight, for every training camp, for every single thing I’ve done. She was actually in my corner for all my amateur fights so being away from her for that long is probably going to be the toughest part. We spent hours and hours on the phone this week but for this opportunity were willing to do whatever it takes, and that’s her to. She’s knows this is going to be tough and were just ready to get after it and see what comes of it.

Why are you going to be the winner of The Ultimate Fighter season 31?

I was born for this. I literally was created to come in here and be The Ultimate Fighter champion, that’s what I was made for.