Michael McDonald entered UFC on FOX 9 -- which took place Dec. 14, 2013 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California -- looking to get a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight title shot with a win over Urijah Faber. Three months later, all he has to show for his performance is "a big bump on my hand."
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight contenders Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald squared off in a pivotal showdown in the co-main of UFC on FOX 9 (watch full fight video highlights here) at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., back in Dec. 2013.
While the result didn't favor "Mayday," the 23-year-old is now doing his best to turn a negative into a positive.
McDonald shared his silver lining in a recent interview with FOX Sports. He explains:
"I feel like it solidified in my mind after I fought Urijah that I am not supposed to fight with a game plan. Every single time I've done that, I've failed in some way. Urijah did great, but the problem wasn't him, it was me. Fights are never as you expect, so I believe that's the last time I will do that and customize myself. I'm just going to trust myself and the skills God's given me. That's how I've gotten success, and that's how I'm meant to do things."
The former No. 1-ranked Bantamweight interim title challenger will have plenty of time to work on "not fighting with a game plan." That's because he revealed a recurring hand injury that he discovered while woodworking.
It's an problem that will keep him on this sidelines for the foreseeable future:
"There's a big bump on my hand, and when I start punching that's what starts hurting, is the bump on my hand. It's what's causing me to lose strength. The doctor thinks it's tendon damage. I think I have another month of rest from fighting before I can go in and get an MRI."
After taking fights against Renan Barao, Brad Pickett and "The California Kid" in 2013, McDonald admits that his most recent loss at UFC on FOX 9 wasn't necessarily the end of the world. He knew that a victory would lead to another title shot down the road -- presumably against Barao again at UFC 169, following Dominick Cruz's latest setback.
But, even though he is young, his body needed this time to heal:
"Believe it or not, it was actually kind of satisfying. Fighting is a 24-hour a day job. Even your rest is for your work. Your food is for your work. Everything you do is for your work, so there is literally no rest when you're fighting. I'd had like 6-7 months of work straight and I kind of knew if I beat Faber, I'd be pushing through four more months of straight working. Of course it sucked to lose. I'm not saying it was nice to lose, but it is nice to have a little bit of a break. I never like to lose. Not when it comes to building my career, but in building my life, it's nice to have a breath of fresh air and relax a little bit."
Now it's only a matter of time before mixed martial arts (MMA) fan's see McDonald inside the Octagon again. But, first up, the self-proclaimed abstinent fighter needs to get his hand back up to full strength.
"I just have to make sure my hand is at full strength before jumping in again. I love fighting, but I just have to make sure I'm healthy and can do it before breaking my body in the process."
Any suggestions about who MacDonald should fight next to begin his road back to 135-pound title contention when his body is ready?