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Michael McDonald Says He’s Not Thinking About Being a UFC Champion

January 6, 2013 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

recently spoke with MMAjunkie about his fight against Renan Barao for the interim bantamweight title at UFC on FUEL TV 7 and more. Check out the highlights:

On the potential title win: “Honestly, it’s not something on my checklist. I don’t think it’s my job to say, ‘I want the title. I want to be the youngest champion. I want to do this. I want to do that.’ I feel like doing that just puts stuff in my head that doesn’t need to be there. I feel like my job and what’s in front of me is just fighting. I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to do and what I’m supposed to stick at. I don’t think I’m supposed to get involved in media and what they think. I just stick to fighting.”

On not wanting to be distracted while he preps for Barao: “I don’t want to think about it until afterward. That’s kind of how I do it. This whole fighting thing is very stressful. It’s very overwhelming with the whole ‘first-fight jitters’ kind of thing. You can’t think about it. You have to be a good judge of when to block your emotions and when to let them in. Emotions cloud judgment, and I don’t want anything clouding my judgment when I go in there. I don’t want to think about a title. I don’t even want to see a title. I don’t want to think about it. I just want to go in there. I want to go home, I want to train, be with my family – do what makes me happy, do my job and go back at home.”

On improving himself: “There’s a fine line between knowing where you are and where you could be, and a lot of fighters know they can be here. I did, too. I knew that I could be here, but it’s a difference between where you are and where you could be. Where I am right now, I just try to look at it only on the martial arts standpoint. I really don’t want to look at the possibilities of where I can be in the media’s eyes. I feel like it corrupts people when they take the media standpoint. The media blows people up. They’re heroes. They’re idols. They’re indestructible and all these kind of things. Anderson Silva will hit somebody, and they think, ‘Oh, crap. I got hit by Anderson Silva. I’m going to fall down now.’ I’m not putting anything against him as a martial artist. He’s a great martial artist, but there’s also a vibe about these people that gets built up by the media. When you believe that image about yourself, bad things happen. I prefer not to do that.”

On his assets as a fighter: “I’m not very big. I’m not very strong. I’m not even very fast, but I understand the body. I understand martial arts, and I understand body mechanics. Anyone can do what I do. It’s not me or something I was born with. It’s the way that I do it.”

On Barao: “I feel like if I was going to match myself up against him, I would lose. But if I match myself with him with my strength, I feel like I have a good chance. I feel like he’s a better athlete than me. I feel like he has better cardio than me. He’s faster than me. He does all these flying knees and spinning back kicks and all this kind of stuff like that. He’s a world champion in jiu-jitsu from what I hear. I can’t match myself with what he does, but I kind of see it as the whole David vs. Goliath thing. I’m not saying that he’s a giant or I’m a boy or anything, but he has his weapons, and I have mine. David brought a sling to a battle with a warrior, a warrior who had been doing it his whole life. That was his weapon, and he was good at it. I feel like it’s the same thing. My weapons are my basics and my defense. My fight with Miguel Torres, I think I got hit four times, and that’s the most I’ve ever been hit in a fight. I consider defense more than anything a priority. I can’t win if I’m unconscious. If I get it over with fast, I go home and get punched less. So everything I do is defensive and basic.”

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Jeremy Thomas

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