Irish MMA and well travelled veteran Chris McDonald (10-5) will seemingly step into the cage one last time this weekend in the main event of Clan Wars 22.
The 37-year-old faces Merv Mulholland (10-6) in a rematch of their 2011 fight which ended in just 16 seconds after Mulholland secured an armbar. So it seems fitting that McDonald is ending his career with this fight and a chance to make up for a devastating loss.
I’ve recently had a chance to speak with ‘Da Badman’ about Merv, their last fight, his career and his camp.
Alan Murphy: You’ve had a tough time professionally since your last fight with injuries and not getting the right fights. How has this time been for you?
Chris McDonald: Firstly, I took time off and started trying to rehabilitate my injuries properly. It was a good time as my wife and I just had a baby.
Regarding the right fights, I have always looked to compete against guys higher up the rankings than me. These are fights that would motivate me and move me forward but it seems these days so called ‘fighters’ are just looking for the right match ups.
Im my opinion we don’t see enough of Irish fighters fighting other top Irish fighters in the pro ranks. Dalton vs Dillion, Phillpott vs McCombe, Maclean vs. Price, Stringer vs. Loughran… these were fights that would get people excited locally. So the right fights are hard to come by when no one wants to fight.
AM: How does it feel to be returning in the main event of Clan Wars and what is it about a fight with Merv that made you accept the fight?
Chris: It feels great! Clan Wars put on a great show and here you have 2 top Irish welterweights going at it.
Merv is ranked above me which gives me all the motivation I need but it is also a rematch in which I have been offered a chance for redemption. It’s the headline fight so a lot of the factors are beneficial to me.
AM: Tell us a bit more about your last fight with Merv and the emotions you felt afterwards.
Chris: I felt embarrassed! I struggled to get tape on him for that fight and I thought he was a stand-up fighter and with my wrestling I knew I could take him down when I wanted, which I did. Having said that, the armbar he locked on was slick and came very unexpected. That loss sent my career into a downward spiral and is something I am looking to avenge.
AM: What would you say to him if he expected the same sort of outcome?
Chris: He can say what he wants but I know the work I have put in for this one. I know his game now and I have prepared accordingly. He likes to come forward and so do I, but I will be surprised if he wants to stay in the pocket with me as I hit hard for a welterweight.
He will have a game plan and so will I but I just think with my wrestling that I am the one who will decide where this fight goes. It will definitely be a different battle compared to the last one!
AM: How has training at Tiger Muay Thai been going?
Chris: Tiger is a great camp! You hear ‘Tiger Muay Thai’ and you think they are just a stand-up camp but the MMA and wrestling program ran by Roger Heurta and Goerge Hikcman is second to none. The amount of Eastern European fighters, wrestlers, sambo competitors coming through this camp just prepares you for anything.
You spar with so many different styles on a weekly basis and the heat is relentless. I also do my one on one Muay Thai at Prasak Muay Thai with Kru Anuphan (Patong Stadium Champion) which has been great for my striking. Thailand as a whole is just a great place to train, I would encourage anyone to take a trip there.
AM: Will this be the last time we see you in the cage?
Chris: 100%. My wife and I have a beautiful 1-year-old son, Isaac, and we are expecting again in November. It’s an exciting time for us and the future looks very bright. Leaving MMA with the ‘W’ will hopefully keep me sane for the rest of my life (laughs). I trained so hard for this one so I can leave the sport the way I came into it, a winner!!