by: Chris Taylor
Michael McDonald is one of the UFC's fastest rising young stars, and when I say 'young' I mean it, he's only 21! McDonald is 15-1 in his MMA career and is coming off his biggest victory to date, as he knocked out former WEC champ Miguel Torres at UFC 145.
I recently got the chance to talk with UFC bantamweight standout, Michael 'Mayday' McDonald. Here is what he had to say:
Chris: Hey Michael, first off thanks for taking the time to talk with us, and congratulations on your latest victory. That victory came at UFC 145 when you knocked out former WEC champion Miguel Torres in the first round. You must be very satisfied with your performance and how the fight went down?
Michael: Yes, I am definitely satisfied with my performance against Miguel. I know that there is always room for improvement and I see the areas in the fight that I could have done better at. But, I also know that I gotta cut myself some slack and pat myself on the back.
Chris: You are 15-1 in your mma career, and have already avenged your only loss to Cole Escovedo. What’s next for ‘Mayday’, has the UFC contacted you about a possible next opponent?
Michael: Honestly, I have no idea whats next for me. I just want to fight for the UFC and be able to make my mark in the sport. Honor God with my career and life, and make a living for myself and my future and current family.
Chris: Who would you like to fight next? With Renan Barao scheduled to fight Urijah Faber for the interim belt and Dominick Cruz being out with injury, is there another opponent out there that makes sense for you to fight right now?
Michael: I would love to fight anyone who is an exciting top ranked fighter. It could be any of the other 6 fighters in the top 10 that are available aside from me, Cruz (who is injured), or Faber and Barao (which are fighting each other.) I am willing to fight anyone the UFC puts in front of me.
Chris: Are there any particular aspects of fighting that you are currently working on in order to improve your all around game?
Michael: Right now I am working on all aspects of my game, just as always. I truly believe that what makes me unique isn't because of me being strong or fast or anything that I have physically over my competition. I believe what makes me unique is an understanding of martial arts. Understanding how my body moves and knowing hows to hit someone and make all the energy transfer into his face, instead of back into my own wrong body mechanics. I understand timing, and I play my fighting style off of my defense and not getting punched. I am going to be improving wherever I feel need to improve. But it's always going to be along the the lines of improving my mind to become a better martial artist, and learning more. I do not consider myself primarily an athlete or even a fighter. I primarily am a martial artist.
Chris: I had read that you were forced to switch churches prior to you latest fight at UFC 145, is this true and can you tell us a little bit of what went on there?
Michael: I was NOT forced to switch churches in any way because of my career. The media source that publicised that took my words out of context and interpretted my words into what they THOUGHT I meant… what I said was that I have only been a member of 2 churches my whole life. The pastor of my first church, who is also my uncle, was not a fan or supporter of MMA so we didnt talk too much about it, but he never once mentioned the situation to me in a negative light. He was always respectful toward my decisions. My second church, on the other hand, absolutely loves what I do and the fact that I work as a messenger of Christ to shine a light for God in an area that few lights are shone. I am very involved in my new church which is Big Valley Grace Church, and have even been invited multiple times by several different pastors in our church to come and give my testimony, or even give martial arts demonstrations to capture to attention of the youth.
Chris: Are you still doing some sparring with your church pastor?
Michael: In the martial arts demonstration that I performed for the 5th and 6th graders in an event called the Waterpalooza, which is an event that our church annually uses to invite kids who don't know Christ to church and show them that church is fun and the church members arent weak, weird, and condemning. They are actually normal, loving, and fun when they live the accepting, and loving gospel of Christ. During this event my sparring partner was my good friend and the pastor of Club 56, (the ministry for the 5th and 6th graders.) Mark, who is quite a big guy. We wanted to capture the kid's attention by having a little 150 pound kid beat up a 300 pound, 6 foot tall man. The kids were amazed, and I captured their attention and respect. After that we brought the kids inside and i got to share a lesson of God's love with them and take part in that night that lead to 15 children openly proffessing and accepting Christ into their lives for the first time.
Chris: What does 21 year-old Mayday McDonald do for fun when he is not training mma?
Michael: My most loved hobby is my woodworking. I took a major portion of the KO of the night bonus from Alex Soto and expanded on a woodshop that I had already started to put together. Not only is it my hobby, but I also do it for income when my fighting schedule allows. I have been doing carpentry for actually just as long as I have been fighting, and it is one of my loves. I built my shop from the ground up, starting with leveling the ground. My shop itself has been my biggest project to date. Hopefully soon I will be able to start selling my woodwork to the public, and we will most likely do it through a combination of Ebay and my website www.maydaymcdonald.com. Aside from carpentry I absolutely love to sing. I can't say that I'm anything special with it because I've never even taken a real singing lesson, but I sing all day every day. I also love to teach. I love to teach anything, but especially about fighting and God. Those are the things I know most of in my life and I feel my my philosophies on both of them are slightly different than most people on earth. and last but not least, I have an amazing support network around me filled with loved ones in many different areas and programs. The rest of my time aside from woodworking, training, teaching, and church is spent with that amazing support network. My older brother Justin Smitley and my little brother Brad McDonald (who are both amazing professional fighters), my parents, Tom, Lori, my best friend Sam, my mentor Vano, and my amazing and loving girlfriend Rachel are those I spend most of it with.
Chris: Well thanks again for taking the time to talk with us Michael. Any last words from ‘Mayday’?
Michael: What is there to say for "last words" when I've already written you a book? lol. I think I've talked your ear off enough for now.
Tags: Dominick Cruz, featured, Michael McDonald, Migual Torres, MMA NEWS, renan barao, ufc 145, ufc news, Urijah Faber