After the first event of the Professional Fighters League (PFL) second season, most people would be lying if they said they were picking David Michaud to have a spot in the championship. But after his KO loss to Sadibou Sy, Michaud picked himself up and went on a three fight win streak to punch his ticket to Madison Square Garden. There he will face Ray Cooper III for the welterweight championship and a million-dollar prize.
But million-dollar prizes haven’t always been the focus for David Michaud, when he first started, it was just about enjoying himself. Though he has left the small stage, he is still enjoying his career choice.
“I wasn’t thinking too far ahead when I first started, because it was just about having fun. I was still in high school fighting. It was like, oh football season is over, let’s take a fight before wrestling season, wrestling season is over, let’s take a fight before baseball and track season. So back then I definitely wasn’t think that far ahead but now that we’re here it’s a good time.”
Many in the world of mixed martial arts come from a unique background and Michaud is no exception. He grew up in the Pine Ridge Native American reservation in South Dakota. As a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, it’s important to him to remember where he has come from as well as to give back. If he is successful in defeating Cooper, he is contemplating opening a business or two back on the reservation to help his people have more opportunities. But for now, he is trying to be mindful of where he comes from and be a good role model.
“I’m definitely always mindful of where I come from and trying to give people a good role model, give people someone to look up to and strive to. There aren’t a lot of people from where I am from doing things on a big stage like this. I’m always reminded of it, there’s always people messaging me, every time I go home, people tell me how proud they are. It’s always on the back of my mind and I’m always mindful of that.”
While he has his people behind him, David Michaud certainly had his doubters in the MMA world after his opening bout loss to Sy. But he says his confidence was never shaken.
“After that first fight in PFL, I had no doubt I’d be here still. What happened happened. I went out, got finished quick, obviously no one wants that to happen obviously but I was super confident still. We were sitting in the back five minutes later and I was like, hey it’s alright we got another fight in two months, we are going to win that one, make the playoffs, we got those two fights on that night, we are going to win those two and then be in the finals. I never doubted for a second, my team never doubted and my family never doubted so, the people that mattered, they know what I’m about and they knew I’d be where I’m at (now).”
And now he has a chance to make himself, his family and team even prouder and he says if he simply sticks to the game plan, that shouldn’t be a problem.
“The way I’m going to win is to mix it up, a lot of straight strikes, a lot of long strikes. Don’t let him land those big hooks. Obviously gotta keep my defense solid, mix in my wrestling when I need to do that, move my head, move my feet and just fight my fight. If I do that, then I got this in the bag.”
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The PFL championships air on ESPN 2 today, at seven pm est, live from Madison Square Garden.