Swapping baskets for quick punches

MICHAEL McDaniel won't be lost to the Warwick Wildcats basketball team forever, but for now has swapped the court for the cage.

He contested his first mixed martial arts bout at Aftershock 12.4 at Toowoomba PCYC on Saturday.

McDaniel took on Brisbane's Josh Smith who went in to the bout with four wins and one loss.

"A judge told me we split the first round, I won the second before I ran out of gas in the third and tapped out after Josh got me in a rear naked choke hold," McDaniel said.

"The same judge told me it was the best bout (of 12) on the card and said I did really well."

McDaniel is better known for his basketball exploits with the Toowoomba Mountaineers and Warwick Wildcats but is keen for a new challenge.

"A lot of people have been saying it's a crazy way to transition out of basketball but I think it's crazy not to compete," he said.

"From the first time I saw UFC, which was UFC100, I thought it was something I could do."

The 42-year-old, who is in great physical condition, thinks he has what it takes to compete in the full contact sport.

And while he is effectively coming over from what is classified as a non-contact sport in basketball, McDaniel says the physical nature of the ball sport is better preparation than some might think.

"Anybody who knows me, I've always been a physical kind of player," he said.

"The whole game is nothing but wrestling under the basket ... so I think I can handle it."

Yesterday, McDaniel said he was recovering from chest bruising and a laceration near the eye.

"My next bout will be in November in Brisbane or the Gold Coast. After eight bouts, I hope to move from amateur to professional," he said.

He plans to help the Wildcats in D-League in 2013.



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