UFC Standout Michael McDonald Shoots for Spring 2015 Return

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAMMA Lead WriterNovember 21, 2014

Talented young UFC bantamweight Michael McDonald will fight again by spring 2015.

That's McDonald's stated goal as he works his way back from hand and wrist surgeries that kept him out of action for over a year. Ariel Helwani announced the news Wednesday on UFC Tonight, with Marc Raimondi of Fox Sports adding an additional report. 

UFC bantamweight contender Michael McDonald targeting spring return http://t.co/lSQmGe3reX

— UFC Tonight (@UFCTonight) November 20, 2014

Once considered a phenom at 135 pounds, McDonald (16-3) last fought in December 2013, when Urijah Faber choked him out to cap a one-sided beating. An August win over Brad Pickett served as a cushion between losses; McDonald fell in February by submission to Renan Barao after a prolonged battle for the then-interim UFC bantamweight belt.

It will have been more than two years since that title fight when "Mayday" finally returns to competition. Whether he can recapture that level of distinction is an open question. McDonald, known as one of his division's most dangerous knockout artists, is still ranked No. 5 in the official UFC rankings despite the absence. What's more, he is still only 23 years old.

Even at that tender age, McDonald has nine career knockout victories to his name. Two came under the UFC banner, against Alex Soto and Miguel Torres. Both were finished before the end of the first round. McDonald also used the power in his fists to gain championship gold: He knocked out Cole Escovedo in 2010 to capture the Tachi Palace Fights bantamweight strap.

There is no word on who McDonald might face upon his return, nor has a hard date been assigned to such a return. However, several fighters currently ranked near McDonald on the official charts do not currently have a fight scheduled and might be able to welcome “Mayday” back. Those include Raphael Assuncao, Eddie Wineland, Takeya Mizugaki and Iuri Alcantara. Joe Soto or Bryan Caraway might also make for a fun fight.

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