Michael McDonald is just 26 years old.
But in the world of MMA, he would be considered an aging veteran.
McDonald will make his debut with Bellator this Friday night when he faces off against Peter Ligier in a bantamweight main event at Bellator 191. The card takes place from the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England, airing on Spike.
For “Mayday,” this is the chance he has been waiting for to prove himself and the UFC wrong.
After the WEC merged with the UFC, McDonald continued to win fights. He picked up four consecutive victories inside the Octagon, including a pair of knockouts over Miguel Torres and Alex Soto.
Sitting at 15-1 in his career, he was marketed as a future champion and placed in a bout with Renan Barao for the interim title at UFC on FUEL TV in 2013. Late in the fourth round, though, Barao locked in an arm-triangle choke, forcing him to tap.
Barao was considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in 2013, so McDonald was still viewed highly after. He rebounded a few months later with a submission win of his own vs. Brad Pickett, but closed out the year with a loss to Urijah Faber in the second round.
Two full years would pass before we would see him again, as he returned in 2016 to submit Masanori Kanehara at UFC 195. In July of that year, McDonald lost to John Lineker in the first round.
Rumors started to circulate revolving around McDonald be disgruntled and unhappy with how he was being treated by the UFC. He asked for, and was given, his release, signing with Bellator this past March.
As a former title contender, winner of six “Fight Night” bonuses with the UFC and still just 26 years old, McDonald needs to prove the game has not passed him by. Ligier isn’t a current title contender, but he is a sound fighter that will surely want to make his own impression against McDonald.
This Friday night is a critical time in the career of the California native and you can bet there is nothing more he would like than adding to his 17 career wins.