If you’re a baseball fan, you undoubtedly know who Josh Donaldson is. The Toronto Blue Jays third baseman was the American League MVP in 2015, and is known as one of the most exciting and outgoing players in the game. He is also a huge MMA fan.
MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani got the chance to talk to the “Bringer of Rain” at UFC 206, and he discussed a great many things about the wacky world of MMA. First up was his chance to train with UFC welterweight contender Stephen Thompson, who he has been a big fan of for a long time:
“After he had his last fight, I had mentioned him in a couple of tweets and on social media, and he reached back out to me and I said 'hey man, don't be scared to put me in the gym and let's train a little bit.' Sure enough, I got a call about a week later. The fight (UFC 206) was gonna be in Toronto. I love coming out here, and things just worked out so that he could be here.
“We did a little sparring and he was showing me a few techniques today. It was one of those things where it was pretty surreal for me because I'm a huge fan of his. I've been a fan of his before people kind of really knew who he was. To be in there with him and mix it up with him a little bit and have him walk me through some things was cool.”
Donaldson, who said that a career in fighting might have been something he would have considered if the UFC was more popular when he was younger, also talked about one of his favorite fighters - the UFC lightweight champion himself, Conor McGregor:
"I'm a huge McGregor fan. I love the guy's swag, and the way he goes about his business. Not only does he go about his business, he tells you what's going to happen, and it happens. Just like his last fight. He said 'hey, I should probably knock the guy out in the first round, but if he wants to hang around, it'll happen in the second round.' And that's what he did.”
Donaldson also talked about the similarities in body mechanics between baseball and fighting, the UFC fighters attempting to unionize, getting to interview Rory MacDonald and what he thinks of Bellator, and much more. You can check out the whole thing in the video above.
Like Ariel, Donaldson is really one of the major reasons I got back into baseball after so long, so it’s very cool to me to see that he’s such a fan of MMA. He’s also a great guy and a good interview, so I’d highly recommend checking it out.