UFC welterweight contender Rory MacDonald is heading into arguably the biggest fight of his career when he steps into the octagon across from Jake Ellenberger this Saturday at UFC on Fox 8. While his last performance, a one-sided boxing destruction of the legendary BJ Penn, was a coming out party of sorts for MacDonald, it’s the Ellenberger bout that will potentially propel MacDonald into true title contention.

And after all, that’s what he really wants, to fight the best in the world and work his way up to a title shot, hopefully sooner than later now that he’s finally healthy:

"I just want to keep fighting the best and beating them, and moving up in the ranks, and hopefully be the champion later on this year." – via MMA Fighting

That’s a good gameplan on paper, except for when you take into account the fact that the champion in his weight class is his good friend and training partner Georges St-Pierre. While Dana White was heard last week saying that he didn’t think MacDonald said he wouldn’t ever fight GSP, ‘Ares’ did indeed say just that:

"No, I won’t be fighting Georges. When the fight comes, if we ever had to meet up, we wouldn’t fight. I’m not fighting him."

So it’s going to be a long and confusing road for MacDonald if he truly wants to be champion at 170, as beating Ellenberger won’t leave too many other fights for him other than GSP, save for a possible rematch with Carlos Condit. If he does want to truly face the best in the world, he’s obviously on a crash course with his friend St-Pierre.

But a lot has to transpire for that bout to become an actuality, as St-Pierre has a long-awaited title match against Johny Hendricks this November. So for the time being, all MacDonald can do is focus on his #4 ranked opponent, one who’s had no shortage of trash talk for MacDonald.

However, he doesn’t seem to care about Ellenberger’s quick wit (or lack thereof), stating that he just wants to fight:

"It’s very unusual the way he speaks about a lot of things. I really don’t understand some of his one-liners. Some of them feel like he’s rehearsed things he wrote down, but I really don’t know. I don’t really care. I just want to fight someone and I want to fight the best in the world. That’s all it is. That’s my job. It’s nothing personal."

Not a surprising answer from a man who many have deemed to be cold, calculating, and destructive on his journey towards the top. Thing is, that journey will most likely have to one day run through GSP’s territory whether MacDonald likes it or not.

Outer Photo Courtesy of Joe Nicholson, USA Today Sports Images