Michael McKinson knows he proved his worth in his latest venture inside the ring even if he doesn’t have a win to show for it.

The 28-year-old British southpaw came up short against Vergil Ortiz Jr. in their 12-round welterweight bout last Saturday night at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, but managed to keep his head high. Ortiz, who resides in nearby Grand Prairie, dropped the previously undefeated McKinson twice before compelling McKinson’s father to throw in the towel in the ninth round.

McKinson, however, surprised some observers by the way he went toe-to-toe at times with a deadly puncher in Ortiz, 24. Although he was ultimately unsuccessful, McKinson recently stated that he is proud of the fact that he challenged himself against Ortiz (19-0, 19 KOs) rather than “coasting” against a lesser talent.

“It was a big, big step up,” McKinson said of facing Ortiz in an interview with SecondsOut. “But we knew that. We knew that before going into that fight. At that world level it is a big jump, but I don’t belong at the level I was at previously. It was too easy. What do people want me to do, keep coasting to points wins over international opponents, or do they actually want me to challenge myself and dare to be great, which I did you know? I’d do it all over again if I had the opportunity.

“Some people are scared to live their dreams, but I’m not. I want to make as many people as proud of me as possible, which it seems like I have done from this trip. I’m 28 now so I’m only interested in big fights and there’s no bigger name in world boxing than Vergil Ortiz with a 100% knockout record.”

McKinson added, “I went into the lion’s den with no fear, so I’m proud of myself.”

McKinson (22-1, 2 KOs) said he never truly recovered from a shot Ortiz landed on his hip late in the eighth round.

“He caught me with a hell of a shot in round eight, about 20 seconds before the knockdown and it wasn’t a body shot that knocked the wind out of your body and stuff like that,” McKinson said. “He hit me and my hip bone—it was a horrible feeling. I couldn’t put any weight on that side. Great shot. Obviously with someone with Ortiz’s power, any shot you’re gonna feel, but my hip bone felt awful — and then he caught me again and I went down.”

“Round nine, he ran over me again in the same spot.”