"There's no difference between this and one of my amateur fights," McDonald said. "Every fight feels the same. It's a mistake if you think something is different. You won't be comfortable, you won't have confidence and everything starts to crumble. It's you and another person in the cage. The title doesn't matter. The opponent doesn't matter. No matter the location and the time, it's you and another person in the cage."
McDonald fights UFC champ Renan Barao on Feb. 16 in London, and a victory would make him the youngest UFC champ.
"I don't really care about the title," said McDonald. "When people get obsessed with the outside appearance, the title, how much I'm getting paid, being in the main event, they let things rent space in their heads that don't need to be there. Emotion scraps judgment. I don't want to look at the title. I don't care about the title. I don't worry about what's going to happen. It's not one of my personal goals. I wouldn't be upset if I never won a title.
"My motivation in this sport is the same as anyone out their doing their job. This is my job. A job to me is something I use to provide a living for my family. Fighting in particular is a platform where I can spread the word of God, tell my story, and tell people how my life has changed through Jesus Christ. When it comes to that title, a lot of people take that title and let it be who they are. I have a very clear boundary between what I do, and who I am, with Jesus Christ. That has nothing to do with my job. If I was working at McDonald's, I'd be the same person."
McDonald, a devoutly religious man, thinks a title would help him gain a bigger platform to spread the word of God, but that's all the belt really means to him.
"From a business standpoint, winning the title, that's cool, because it means more income, more success, a bigger platform for me to talk about God," he said. "For my personal identity, it means nothing. There's no connection, whatsoever."