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McDonald out to steal Jon Jones' proudest record

ESPN staff
February 11, 2013 « Brook left in limbo by Alexander | Chartbeat test »

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Jon Jones is hitting all manner of milestones in his phenomenal UFC career, but one of his biggest achievements might be stolen away from him by Michael McDonald at UFC London this weekend.

Jones is currently the youngest champion in the UFC's history, winning the light-heavyweight belt at the age of 23 years, eight months and one day.

If McDonald defeats Renan Barao in his interim bantamweight title showdown on Saturday, he will set a new record by claiming UFC gold at the age of 22 years, one month and one day.

No other statistic highlights better the prodigious talent that McDonald boasts, having already fought and won four times inside the Octagon.

His last outing produced an explosive first-round knockout of Miguel Torres, and McDonald's overall MMA record stands at 15-1. However, he remains an underdog against Barao, who is riding a 29-fight winning streak.

Having turned professional at the age of 16, McDonald is a new-age mixed martial artist, happy to take the fight anywhere, as proved in his exhilarating win over Edwin Figueroa. And the youngster admits he has made plenty of sacrifices to get to where he is in the sport.

"I was 16 and I had grown men telling me I was their hero," McDonald told Yahoo Sports. "I was just a kid. I had people come up to me and saying, 'If you can't make it, we can't make it,' and 'the pride of the school is resting on your shoulders.' I had a grown man come up to me and ask me to teach his son how to be a man.

"I never was allowed to have those stupid teenage years. I never went to a high school football game. I never went to a dance. The only dance I went to was my prom, and that was kind of by surprise.

"All of the things that normal teenagers do, I didn't do. I had a lot of pressure on me from the age of about 15 to 18. I tried to run away from it, and it was very difficult for me."

That background ensures McDonald will not feel pressure in his maiden title fight this weekend, when he truly can elevate himself into the Jon Jones standard by sweeping away his proudest record. A capacity crowd at Wembley Arena will be there to witness.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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