Tristar coach Firas Zahabi doesn’t expect Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald to retire if he wins his next fight.
MacDonald defends his title in a rematch against Douglas Lima in the final of the Bellator welterweight grand prix. That fight takes place at Bellator 232 on October 26 with the winner not only winning the grand prix, but also receiving a $1 million prize.
And with “Red King” seemingly having his motivations elsewhere, at least based on his performances this year and previous hints at retirement, winning at Bellator 232 would be the ideal way to go out.
But even if that’s the case, Zahabi doesn’t expect the retirement to last long:
“Let’s say he won a million and retired, I feel like personally he’s going to come back even if he doesn’t need the money,” Zahabi told MMA Junkie. “That’s just where I feel he’s at. He’s going to miss fighting if he ever hangs it up. In my opinion he has a lot more fight left in him. Before the Neiman (Gracie) fight people were like, ‘Did he just retire?’ That’s not what he said.
“Fighters are emotional after a fight. Some of them do retire for real. It does happen, but it also swings the other way. You start feeling like you want to go back in. Georges (St-Pierre) at one point retired, he wasn’t sure and he came back to win the world title. I never count them out, personally I never count that out.”
MacDonald faces a tough task in Lima if he wants that million dollar prize, though. Although he won the title against the Brazilian via unanimous decision last year, it was by no means a cakewalk for the Canadian who absorbed a lot of damage.
And for Zahabi, he expects an interesting fight because the pair have already shared 25 minutes inside the cage together:
“It’s an interesting fight because they already fought before and it was so close,” Zahabi explained. “Before you fight a guy like Lima, you know what he does, but you don’t know the chemistry, how his chemistry is going to be with Rory. Now we saw what their chemistry is like. Styles is a major component of MMA, more than any other combat sport. Boxing, yes, styles matter, but it’s still boxing. There’s not as many possibilities for change, whereas MMA there’s so many things that could be different.
“There are more possibilities, so now that we know what their chemistry is like we’re going to explore the different possibilities. Because they know each other so well they’re going to go in there with a different strategy, at least we are. It’s going to be a competitive fight, but always a different fight.”
Who do you think wins in the rematch? Do you think MacDonald will retire if he wins?