UFC welterweight Rory MacDonald has been criticized for playing it safe in recent performances inside the Octagon. He’s gone to a decision in his last four outings. He wanted to make a statement at UFC 170 that he’s a top contender in the 170-pound division when he faced Demian Maia.
“I wanted to let it all out and show myself out there. I didn’t want to have any regrets coming back to the dressing room, and I felt like I did that,” said the 24-year-old during the UFC 170 Post-Show on Fox Sports 1.
He wasn’t able to finish Maia, but no one can say he played it safe against the 18-fight UFC veteran. MacDonald was taken down early in the opening round and put in bad positions, but he fended off the attacks of the former Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion.
Over the course of the next two rounds, MacDonald successfully defended 20 takedown attempts. Following the fight, MacDonald revealed that he drilled takedown defense throughout his training camp.
“I worked it every day in training camp. Firas (Zahabi), he set a good training camp for me, a good regimen for this and really drilled in my head. He got me ready for what my corner was going to do to me. And it showed in the fight,” he said.
With the win over Maia, MacDonald is calling for a title shot for the first time in his career. Now that teammate Georges St-Pierre has stepped away from fighting and relinquished the welterweight crown, MacDonald believes it’s his time to take the thrown. He’d like to face the winner between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler, who fight for the vacant belt on March 15 at UFC 171, but wouldn’t give a prediction for the fight.
“I think they’re both two great welterweight fighters. I have a lot of respect for both of them. And I just think let the best man win.”