UFC welterweight contender Rory MacDonald finds himself in a puzzling position following his one-sided although uninspired performance against Jake Ellenberger at last night’s UFC on Fox 8 event from Seattle, Wash. While he may have knocked off the #4 fighter in his division, he certainly didn’t impress anyone enough clock up the potential title shot that was on the line.
There was a ton of buildup to the fight in recent weeks, but oddly enough it was mainly Ellenberger throwing odd insults MacDonald’s way. MacDonald followed true to form by shrugging them off and remaining his usual unemotional self. That doesn’t usually translate to success according to Dana White:
"When you get these fights where guys talk s--t, those fights always suck," White said of the bout. "I think that for Ellenberger to go out and say [MacDonald] doesn't deserve to be in the top-10 and then not go out and try to prove that he doesn't belong in the top-10...Ellenberger literally did nothing.”
"And in my opinion, Rory didn't do anything to try and finish him and put a stamp on it and make a statement, not only to the world, but to the guys that are in the division."
MacDonald’s gameplan may have won him the fight last night, but it certainly impress the UFC brass enough to grant him the potential title shot that was on the line. White continued the lambast the young phenom’s performance:
“Don't come in and say my fight was great and technical and I belong in the top-10 and all this s--t, and don't go in there and try to perform. I don't think he performed. I don't think he did anything. He threw a few jabs and some front kicks.”
"I don't think he moves down the ladder, but do you think anybody's screaming to see him fight again? Unfortunately, we live in a business where you're as good as your last fight. “
The fight was booed for a good portion of its entirety by the fans at the Key Arena, who obviously felt cheated by the proposed war that failed to deliver in a big way. White had some harsh criticism for MacDonald’s winning effort:
"You don't want to put on a bunch of performances like that. It's not good for anybody. It's not good for him, it's not good for us, it's not good for the sport. Not good for FOX. Definitely not good for pay-per-view."
MacDonald, even had he won impressively last night, would still find himself in the unenviable position of being the close friend and training partner of 170 lb. champion Georges St-Pierre. White addressed this common knowledge as well:
“That kid's in a tough enough position as it is. He trains in Georges St-Pierre's hometown, where he trains, and everything is Georges St-Pierre this, Georges St-Pierre that, and the kid has to walk around and say he doesn't want to fight Georges St-Pierre when we all f---ing know he wants to fight Georges St-Pierre. But why would he go beating his chest saying he wants to fight Georges St-Pierre when that fight isn't even close to happening yet.”
“So if you're Rory, and you're that f---king good and talented, then you imposed your will on him and show the rest of the world, not only do I belong in the top-five, I should be fighting Georges St-Pierre."
Despite white’s insistence that he is on a collision course with his close friend and teacher, MacDonald maintains that he will never fight GSP. And with performances like last night’s win, it may be tough for MacDonald to get to his title shot. Really the only fight that makes sense for him right now is Demian Maia. We’ll have to see who wins between St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks this November 17th, but if MacDonald beats Maia or his next opponent handily, it’ll be tough to deny him.
Is he ready for that lofty status? Or is he still undeserving of facing the top of the division without a true statement win to his name?
Outer Photo: USA Today Sports Images