Rory MacDonald was on the brink of a Welterweight title shot when he faced Jake Ellenberger in July. He had just beaten the tar out of BJ Penn for three rounds the past December and was eying a title shot, if he could beat Ellenberger convincingly.
Although MacD’s win was clear cut, it was also very lacklustre. A very game planned approach was evident in Ares’ corner, but it did not translate well and ended up delivering a very hesitant performance.
MacD was available to comment to MMAJunkie this past Monday, giving his two cents on his future and the bout against The Juggernaut:
"If I continue to have exciting fights and dominant fights and winning, I think I'm very close [to a title shot], It really depends on how the fights go. There was a lot of criticism about [my most recent fight]," MacDonald said. "I've taken some advice to be a little more exciting, a little more aggressive and also balancing it with being a technical fighter, so there was a lot to learn from that fight."
A more exciting and dynamic approach from MacDonald would likely put him in the good books of match makers, but may expose that he is open to being pinged against a cold striker like Robbie Lawler. The two are set to collide at UFC 167, in a bout where both men stand to gain a promotion up the ranks.
Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre trains along side MacDonald at Tri Star Gym, and is a big influence on the young Canadian. He continued:
"Georges brings in a lot of top-level talent into our training camps, so being able to reap the benefits of those guys coming in is another factor," MacDonald said. "Just being along Georges and seeing how he leads up to his fights is a great experience for me."
Ares has often spoke about his willingness to fight GSP, or lack thereof. The two have formed a close friendship and often express that bromance is way more important than UFC titles. So where would that leave MacDonald if he wins against Lawler.
Well, the recent GSP retirement rumours have been dispelled, so if St-Pierre is victorious against Johny Hendricks; would a move to 185 be prudent for MacD? My personal thought is no. One reason that MacDonald has so much success at 170 is his natural advantages, advantages that would not be present should he move up to the 185lb. limit.
His height advantage would disappear, and he could potentially face a ten inch reach disadvantage as a consequence. That being said, its not all about the size of the dog in the fight.
UFC 167 will answer a lot of questions for us, and maybe this time next year we will have got through another two Welterweight Champions. Either that or GSP will continue to blanket rule the stacked 170lb. division. I’d personally like to see Robbie Lawler get his heavy hands on that belt.