McDonald will headline the next Elite Fight Series event at Fred Moule Pavillion on March 13, when he takes on Taneira Terry out of Strikeforce Muay Thai Gym for the WMC Welterweight Pro Belt.
And it’s clear this one means a lot to the 30-year-old Maroochydore product.
“This one, the WMC belt … they’re about as prestigious as it gets in Australia,” he said.
“I’ve always wanted one of these ones. The bling always makes it more significant.”
McDonald’s path to the ring started as an obsession with Dragonball Z as a youngster, but after some time boxing was almost lost to the fight game.
But just as pop culture gave him his first taste of combat sport, it would again provide the launch pad for McDonald to take up a new passion.
“I started as a junior, I was 15 doing some boxing in Caloundra for self-defence,” McDonald said. “I wanted to fight then anyway but I wasn’t a natural talent as a child. I got bored with boxing.
“(Later) I watched a movie called Ong Bak, a Thai movie, and I was hooked straight away.
“I thought ‘wow, knees, elbows, kicking, punching. I thought it was more of a complete sport than boxing.
“It was a movie, obviously, so it was choreographed, but when I first walked into my first Muay Thai gym it was just fit people smashing pads and I just thought I want to be one of these guys, this is where I want to spend my time.”
It is that part of Muay Thai which McDonald loves best.
The camaraderie between those at Destination Fitness gym, whether they’re training partners or the next lot of junior fighters taking their first steps in the sport, is something he’s never taken for granted.
And that’s before you consider the passion he has for training, which has to become an obsession if you try to follow a professional path - a choice and challenge eagerly accepted by McDonald.
Patrick Doherty, who operates DF GYM, said the upcoming bout would be a good one for McDonald, who is coming off a lean 2020.
“He didn’t have a big year last year, a couple of fights didn’t go through and he missed out,” Doherty said.
“He won by a knockout with his hands last time. He always rises to the occasion in front of the home crowd. He will have the whole stadium packed out for him.”
His opponent is no slouch.
Terry has fought 27 times already, and won the WKBF Amateur Super Welterweight Muay Thai World Championship in November.
Strikeforce is a widely-known and highly regarded gym, but McDonald is rolling into this bout off the back of an impressive win.
“I’m coming off a good win, my last fight was a second round knockout so I just want to keep that rolling if I can,” McDonald said. “I try to prepare every fight as if it’s a title fight or hard fight.
“You prepare as much as you can in the gym. We’ve got a great team here, a stable of massive prospects, all the young guys coming through, it’s a really good place to be.”
No place in the squared circle will be safe for Terry, with McDonald ready to attack using every weapon at his disposal when he main events the Explosive Fight Promotions card on March 13.
“I’m an all-rounder, really,” McDonald said. “I like to punch, I like to kick, I like to knee and I like to elbow.
“I’m a volume fighter, I put high pressure on - lots of punches, lots of kicks, all just go, go, go, go and slowly break my opponent down.”