MacDonald hopes to advance in the welterweight tournament against Jon Fitch on Saturday.
When Rory MacDonald began his UFC career, it was a re-birth of sorts.
MacDonald had two barn burner fights against Robbie Lawler in the UFC that he lost. Then he had a unanimous decision loss to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in his native Canada before exiting the organization.
Next he faced welterweight champion Douglas Lima at Bellator 192 and won the strap in only his second appearance in the promotion.
Like Ryan Bader, another former UFC standout that became a champion in Bellator, MacDonald realized his dream through Bellator President Scott Coker’s lens. Bader became the light heavyweight and heavyweight world champion within five fights and two years.
“Bellator’s got a great landscape for opportunities, different models, making better money than where I was at with the UFC at the time,” said MacDonald. “I’m still grateful for the things I did with the UFC and what they did for me, it was really good for me, but this time in my career Bellator has been a great move for me.”
Then like Bader, MacDonald tried to become a two-weight class world champion when he faced Gerard Mousasi at Middleweight last September.
He was knocked out in the second round.
“I didn’t go in focused,” MacDonald said. “If my focus was there, my hunger was there, maybe. But I feel like at welterweight it’s better suited for me.”
Bellator Welterweight Tournament
Now MacDonald has entered Bellator’s welterweight tournament where his belt is on the line. Facing fellow UFC defector Jon Fitch, the tournament is yet another step in an already celebrated career.
The fight is available by downloading the DAZN app and streaming live this Saturday night.
“The tournament thing has definitely been a blessing and an awesome opportunity,” MacDonald said. “(Bellator) makes fun matchups. Their hands aren’t tied by a ranking system or anything like that. They like to do what makes sense for the sport.”
With newcomer Neiman Gracie already a guaranteed opponent for whoever wins, MacDonald isn’t looking past Fitch. But he’s excited for the next possibilities.
“He’s very good with submissions and obviously with the Gracie name it’s quite an honor to fight one of their family members,” said MacDonald. “They’re a great fighting family and a great part of our sport.”
On Satuday night, MacDonald, like his fellow Canadian teammate George St. Pierre once did, will face Fitch for his welterweight title.
The only question is, will he be as successful as GSP was in his title defense.