Not surprisingly, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre has come to the quick defense of his all-star pupil Rory MacDonald, refuting the critics who lambasted MacDonald’s uninspired performance in a winning effort against Jake Ellenberger at Saturday’s UFC on Fox 8. MacDonald’s detractors, who include UFC President Dana White, felt that MacDonald should have taken advantage of his “The Juggernaut’s” surprising tentativeness and at least attempted to finish the fight.
However, GSP is not among those critics, instead believing that MacDonald implemented the correct strategy by not playing into his opponent’s power slugging game. St-Pierre voiced his views to The Canadian Press:
"He shouldn't care about the critics. You don't brawl with a brawler. It was up to Ellenberger to open up and take more risk because he was losing and he didn't. Rory fought a great fight and even made it look relatively easy."
Many would argue that St-Pierre himself has been utilizing an all-too-safe game, having not finished an opponent since BJ Penn in 2009, so no one will be shocked when they hear that GSP thought MacDonald fought a great bout. But he’s going to be among the few sharing that sentiment, as MacDonald has been generally raked over the proverbial coals by fans and media alike.
The performance, regardless of whether it was a masterfully executed gameplan or not, put “Ares” into a sort of no-man’s land in the stacked UFC welterweight division. And with Demian Maia reportedly set to face off with Jake Shields later this year, there are no clear-cut opponents left for MacDonald at the current time.
Surging striker Robbie Lawler comes to mind, as he appears re-energized in his latest stint in the UFC. MacDonald hinted at wanting a rematch with the only man to ever defeat him in Carlos Condit, who will face Martin Kampmann in Indianapolis on August 17th.
Maybe MacDonald did the right thing in not slugging it out with Ellenberger, or maybe he missed out on making a true statement for his coveted title shot. Do you agree with GSP’s assessment of the bout?