May 23, 2014 - Oglala Sioux fighter called to the big leagues by Brandon Ecoffey

*This article was first published in the Native Sun News

PINE RIDGE– For a fighter who entered the cage before he was old enough to vote it has been a long wait for the UFC to call his name. The wait ended last week when the Ultimate Fighting Championship offered Pine Ridge’s David “Bull Dawg” Michaud a chance to compete on the sports largest stage.

“There had been some inkling that I may get a fight in the UFC but on Thursday when my manager called I was really excited,” said Michaud. “I had been working hard for years to get back to the UFC and there is no way to explain how ready I am.”

Michaud would receive word from one of his coaches last Thursday morning that the UFC would be offering him a contract to step in the cage with former Legends Champion Jingliang Li of China. Jiangliang Li was originally paired with England born Shaun White. When White dropped out Michaud stepped up.

“It was between me and one other guy as to who would get the fight. I was nervous that I would not get it,” said Michaud.

After rising to the top of the local ranks while still in high school and college, Michaud, would quickly make a name for himself around the region by becoming the Ring Wars champion in Rapid City while fighting in multiple weight classes. He would turn pro in 2009 and would quickly compile a 7-0 record where he would finish all but one of his opponents. During this time he would make a short appearance on the reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter. However unbeknownst to the general public he would compete on the show with a torn ACL that would require surgery shortly after he was defeated during the first episode. The loss would eliminate Michaud from the competition and temporarily derail his dream of fighting in the UFC.

“I was pretty depressed because I lost and having to get surgery right after was hard.” After the surgery Michaud said that his weight ballooned to well over 200lbs and he admits that he questioned if chasing a seemingly distant dream of returning to the UFC was worth it.

“There were definitely times where I was thinking twice if I wanted to keep fighting. There were definitely times where I thought this wouldn’t be happening,” he said.

At the end of the day however Michaud was called upon by the famed UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to make his debut at UFC 173 against Jingliang Li.

Jingliang Li is also making his UFC debut and will bring to the cage an 8-2 record. Although MMA in China is not considered to be on par with that in the U.S., Jingliang Li, will bring some challenges to the table for the wrestling based Michaud who is currently a training partner of former lightweight champion Benson Henderson. The fight may bank on Michaud’s ability to defend and complete his takedowns as Jingliang Li possesses a 3 inch height advantage over the Oglala Sioux fighter.

If history is a guide however Michaud seems to do well against taller fighters as he has overcome both a 3 and 6 inch disadvantage in height during his recent 3 fight win streak after returning from knee surgery.

“I have fought taller guys in the past and there are tall people in the gym to train with,” said Michaud.

The fight will be the first fight of the night on May 24 in Las Vegas, Nev. on the undercard of UFC 173 that will be co-headlined by UFC veteran and Umatilla tribal member Dan Henderson. The fight can be viewed on the UFC’s pay-per view app Fight Pass.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at Copyright permission Native Sun News

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