Rory MacDonald Needs to Impress
I’m not sure if there is another fighter in the world with two losses in their career that needs an impressive performance on Saturday, like Rory “Ares” MacDonald does.
His fight against Damien Maia at UFC 170 is crucial to MacDonald’s progression in the UFC and within the welterweight division. Before, Georges St. Pierre vacated the welterweight title, there was talk that he would face his fellow Canadian and training partner for the title. Any time they were asked, both men said it would not happen. St. Pierre always said that “they” had a plan to deal with the issue. I presume that plan involved MacDonald defeating Robbie Lawler and fighting someone else for the vacant title. Fate would be much different. St. Pierre won a controversial decision over Johny Hendricks, vacated the title, much to the dismay of Dana White and Hendricks. On that same UFC 167 card, MacDonald played the role of the fighter looking to not lose, and subsequently did so, via split decision against Robbie Lawler.
What made MacDonald’s loss more disheartening was the way he lost. Throughout his fight with Lawler, it was obvious MacDonald was trying not to lose. He knew he was in a position to fight for the title, and did not want to take a chance against someone as dangerous as Lawler. His strategy failed him. While the failure may seem like punishment enough, he also got harshly criticized from MMA fans every where for his complaining.
Fair or unfair?
Not an easy question to answer, though I believe more of the blame needs to be focused on Tristar Gym, and the strategy involved in his fight plan. Like St. Pierre, the game plan was more focused on cautious offence, as opposed to the risk taking that’s involved with trying to finish a fight.
On Saturday, MacDonald needs to finish Maia. He needs to prove to the MMA community that not only was the Lawler loss an aberration, but that he also, deserves to fight the winner of Hendricks and Lawler. At the very least, an explosive and impressive performance against Maia, would seal a rematch against one of MacDonald’s career losses, Carlos Condit.
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