David Michaud has added another highlight to his impressive mixed martial arts career. The 26-year-old Oglala Lakota fighter won his first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) match, downing Garett Whiteley in a lightweight bout held in Phoenix this past Saturday.
With the unanimous decision victory, Michaud, who lives in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, boosted his pro record to 8-1.
Michaud turned pro back in 2009. After winning his first seven matches, he made the jump to his sport's highest level - the UFC ranks - this past spring. He lost his UFC debut against China's Li Jingliang, a match that ended with a split-decision. But Michaud is thrilled he was able to register his first UFC victory on Saturday. "It's huge," he said. "You can't start any journey without taking that first step.
"I'm in the big show now and that's all that matters," he said. Michaud wants to crack the UFC's Top 10 rankings as a lightweight. "That will take some time," he said. "I need to win five or six more fights in a row before that happens."
Though no details have been announced, Michaud is eager to step back into the ring relatively soon. "I'm hoping for February," he said. "If not, then March for sure."
One thing Michaud is certain about is that he would like to remain in the lightweight ranks. Throughout his amateur and pro careers, he's fought in different weight categories. He once captured an amateur title at 205 pounds.
This past January he weighed 160 pounds in his last fight before moving up to the UFC ranks. With only a couple of weeks to prepare for his UFC debut, Michaud needed to put on 10 pounds to make the 170-pound weight requirement. "I believe I needed more cardio," Michaud said of his first UFC match. "I didn't have enough time to get that up. But I took that fight and there's no looking back now."
Michaud dropped 15 pounds in order to meet the weight for his lightweight fight on the weekend. "I had never been that light since I was a freshman in high school," said the former wrestler. "That was 10 years ago."
But it's a weight he'd like to maintain now. "I'll probably be at 155 pounds the rest of my career," he said.
Michaud, who has a journalism degree from South Dakota State University, does some writing these days. But a good chunk of his time is spent training. A typical morning for him begins at 8 a.m. in the gym. He works on his strength and conditioning for two hours before a 60-minute technique session, where he hones his boxing, kickboxing or Jiu-Jitsu skills. He also has a three-hour intensive afternoon workout, either sparring or wrestling. And when he's feeling up to it, he returns to the gym in the evening for another hour-long training session. "I just want to keep working hard and keep getting better every day," he said. He repeats this schedule six days a week.
"I get Sundays off to lay around and watch football," he said.