Where Does Rory MacDonald Go From Here?


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

  • Rory vs Robbie Lawler also makes sense…Robbie is the dark horse of the welterweight division and would pose problems for any top contender…

    • No way man, we gots to see Robbie vs Diaz for the rematch. Im still surprised Diaz KO'd Lawler face down. Lawler got up all stumbling at an angle with an upset look on his face. If you havent seen that one, GO SEE IT!

    • is a kid who gets to train with great fighters guys who are in the top 5 and gets to learn everyday cause these guys are true champs not douchebags behind doors these guys love to teach and after a few years you actually see Rory change from respecting all fighters to thinking that he is now become a god of sorts full of additude and full of himself disrespecting old school fighters ect…forgeting his place and how things are……there are alot of good fights that could be set up he is almost there but letting his mouth get out of control and

      • D


  • I'd like to see him face off against Robbie Lawlor. Damien Maia will be a ground game which isn't a bad thing either.

    At the end of the day Rory WON. Dana can't expect every fighter to give and take 300 overhand rights to the head, blood splattering all over the cage.

    If we are serious about MMA as being a sport then exciting fights should not dictate the elevation towards a title shot, wins should be the guide just as in tennis. The reality is sooner or later a fighter that plays it safe is going to meet some serious aggression sooner or later. Rory shouldn't be spat on based on one performance that was lacklastre. If GSP loses against Hendricks we are certainly going to see a rematch like silva and weidman.

    Just give RORY an aggressive fighter next and all will be resolved.

    • Agree, agree, agree, agree, annnnd agree! How could you argue with that, Nick Diaz, Lawlor or Condit were 1st in mind for Rory.

    • Why can't Rory be aggressive? All he had to do was get in there and test his skills just like Jake should have. Instead he resorted to using the only thing that keeps any real conflict from happening by using a longer jab. If he was really doing anything he would have used other punches as well with his reach advantage. This is a fighting sport and thats what we want to see. We want to see a fight won not a game of tag.

  • Maia is the fight that makes sense, but Lawler too, would be a good fight. That said and in terms of rankings, the fight that makes the most sense for Lawler (now) would be Tarec Saffiedine. That would be a good match.

    On that note, Lawler is beginning to look like a burgeoning power @ 170 and a serious contender. One or two solid wins against some ranked fighters and I could easily see Lawler getting a title-shot, particularly a short-notice (replacement) fight. He looks to be in great shape and focused.

    Regarding Ellenberger, he should probably get Koscheck. That too, would be a good fight, a good test for both and with KOS really needing the win, an important bout.

  • Back to the psych ward!

  • A win is a win. In any organization respecting its own rankings a win moves you up the ladder. There are no ifs or buts. MMA has rules, points, judges. The position of a match maker is absolutely unnecessary if rankings are to mean anything. I am simply tired of all the melodrama, and I just want for people to fight and get the title shots they deserve, when they have earned them. What I do not want to see is a multimillionaire, having a fleet of 20 or 50 cars, and living off the sweat and anguish of fighters running his mouth about new ways to abuse them.

    • How do you move up the ladder if the guy you beat in a game of tag was also ranked lower?

    • D

      MMA is a career choice. There are many others. Save your tears for something better my son.

  • Vic

    Ellenberger stated he had a psychological advantage over MacDonald….? :')

    • I think they both had psychological advantages that canceled each other out and became disadvantages for both… Yeah thats it.

  • Make him fight Lawlor, a real competitor.

  • Have him batter koscheck.

  • MMA lost in this fight.