He’s only 22 years old, but Michael McDonald has already achieved a lot in his MMA career. He has fought in a number of organisations, including Gladiator Challenging, Tachi Palace Fights, the WEC and the UFC.
The young man known as Mayday began his professional MMA career at the ripe young age of 16 back in November 2007, and has since gone 15-2, with four of those wins being in the UFC.
There exists a small segment of MMA fans who are put off by the lighter weight divisions due to the misguided preconception that it is rare for fights in those divisions to finish. It is unlikely that those fans have seen a Mayday fight. Just two of McDonald’s 15 wins come via decision, while eight of them come via TKO in the first round.
His two decision victories were also his first two fights in the UFC, which came over Edwin Figueroa and Chris Cariaso. He then stopped UFC debutant Alex Soto in just 56 seconds, which resulted in a lot of hype behind put behind the then 20-year-old.
McDonald then faced a massive test when he was matched up against former WEC Bantamweight Champion Miguel Torres. Torres was once the most feared fighters in the Bantamweight division, and had been finishing fighters well before MacDonald has even began high school.
It all meant nothing to Mayday, however, who finished Torres in the first round of their fight, which resulted in him being given a shot against Renan Barao for the interim UFC Bantamweight title. It was never gong to be an easy task, as Barao had shown almost no flaws in his UFC career, and boasted one of the best records of any active MMA fighter to date.
Still, McDonald made the trip to London, England and showed a lot of promise in the start of their Main Event fight, displaying some solid stand-up that gave Barao a run for his money. Ultimately, however, Barao got the better of him and submitted McDonald in the fourth round to give him his second loss in his MMA career.
Six months later, Mayday finds himself back in the Octagon once again when he fights in the Preliminary Card of UFC on Fox Sports 1: Shogun vs. Sonnen this coming Saturday. It will be another challenge for the Californian as he faces solid Bantamweight division Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett.
Pickett has proven himself to be one of the most solid fighters in the division, shown by his previous wins over Ivan Menjivar, Damacio Page and Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson, one of just two fighters to have beaten the current Flyweight champion.
He can certainly be seen as the ‘top level litmus test’ of the UFC Bantamweight division; the fighter who beats him deserves a place in the top five. His first Bantamweight loss was to Scott Jorgensen, who then went on to fight Dominick Cruz for the WEC title. He then lost to Renan Barao, who went on to become the current UFC Interim Bantamweight champion. His last loss was to Eddie Wineland, who will be challenging Barao for the interim title at UFC 165.
Pickett’s history and credentials makes beating him a hard task for anyone, including McDonald. But even in his young age, the 22-year-old has shown that he is something special and that he has what it takes to be in the top echelons of UFC’s bantamweight division.
The flaws that were shown in his loss to Barao are likely to have been addressed, something we will likely see this Saturday night. McDonald now knows what is needed to be a champion, and Saturday night will be his resurgence as he makes another run for the title.