Michael McDonald is just a little more than two years removed from fighting for the interim UFC bantamweight title.
He ultimately came up short with that endeavor, losing to Renan Barao via fourth-round submission, but his promotional portfolio still keeps him at an elite level.
Now while the 24-year-old hasn't competed since a loss to Urijah Faber back in December of 2013 at UFC on Fox 9, Mayday is scheduled to shake off the injury bug and make his return to the Octagon this summer.
For a division aching for new contenders, this is a welcome sight.
Here are three fights that make the most sense for McDonald to regain his divisional footing:
A collision with Wineland is probably the best chance McDonald has at capturing victory upon his return.
With an eager striking game and the recent ability to get knocked out, Wineland is a perfect candidate to fall victim to McDonald's pressure and power.
It's likely that Wineland possesses more hand speed along the edges, but McDonald's strong ground game would stifle any trouble on the feet.
However, Mayday could have issues with the veteran's precision and patience.
What better way to announce your return than a victory over the "Next Big Thing?"
Nothing really, especially when that thing is undefeated rising contender Aljamain Sterling.
As one of the division's biggest breakouts during McDonald's absence, Sterling fuses sensational athleticism, wrestling and strong grappling skills to thwart his opponents.
He is the perfect type of fighter to test McDonald's resilience and his notably strong guard game.
Not for nothing, but Sterling is actually one year the elder of Mayday.
The quickest road for McDonald to regain his spot in line for a title shot would be through the formidable Assuncao.
A current owner of an impressive seven-fight win streak, including a split-decision victory over current bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, the Brazilian represents the very best at 135 pounds.
Now while Assuncao boasts one of the most well-rounded games in the division today, McDonald's size advantage and overwhelming power could prove too much for the 32-year-old.
However, Assuncao is one of the most durable guys out there and someone who does what is needed to win.
It's a tough matchup that could bode well for McDonald as he attempts to make up for lost time.
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