It's been about three weeks since Michael "Mayday" McDonald returned from his trip to London. During his stay, he visited Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and gazed upon Big Ben.
Basically, he was a typical American tourist. Only, his vacation ended with a UFC title bout against interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao.
McDonald (15-2) tapped out in the fourth round of the Feb. 16 bout in London's Wembley Arena, but he isn't dwelling on the setback.
"I feel like this loss has re-centered me," said McDonald, who was bidding to become the youngest champion in UFC history. "I've seen this sport conquer a lot of lives.
"For the longest time I've been trying to find this balance. I finally feel like I've found that balance. Not letting this sport be my life. I've found that unstoppable drive and determination."
McDonald came down with the flu less than two weeks before the Barao fight, which sapped his energy and halted his training at a crucial point. He also revealed that he was dealing with broken bones in his right foot.
"Living out in the country, on the outskirts of Modesto, I stepped in a gopher hole," explained McDonald. "That's why I didn't throw any kicks in the fight.
"But small, minor injuries are so frequent in this sport, they're going to happen every time. And (Barao) had to deal with those things, too. Who knows? He may have had worse injuries than me coming into the fight."
The biggest pre-fight concern for McDonald his surgically repaired right hand was a non-issue.
"The hand's perfect," said McDonald. "It feels better than it's felt in years. The hand held up perfectly."
McDonald is taking some time off to let facial cuts heal before heading back into the gym. He anticipates his next bout could come before the end of the summer. There are whispers that he could meet Ivan Menjivar (25-10) or Brad Pickett (22-7).
But that's at least four months away.
"Right now, I'm just taking some time to relax my body and make sure I got everything straightened out before I jump in there in again," said McDonald.
He's also concentrating on some out-of-the-ring opportunities."
"It's hard getting paid so inconsistently, earning a check once every four to six months," said McDonald, who made $15,000 for the fight. "I've just got some different business ventures. I'm going to see if I can work them around my training."
When McDonald does get back to training, he won't be changing much. Despite the loss, he likes the way he was training leading up to Barao. A few minor adjustments are all he's looking to make.
"After I do that, people are going to have a very hard time dealing with me."
Bee staff writer Joe Cortez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2302.