Since that fight, MacDonald has reeled off three consecutive wins and Lawler captured the welterweight title from former champion Johny Hendricks. The two are scheduled to rematch at UFC 189 for the belt, and the first fight doesn’t mean much to MacDonald now.
“For me, I don’t really look at it at all. I’ve come a long way since that fight. I’m just practicing new techniques and (have) become a whole new fighter since then. I’m focused on bringing a new attitude and just a better version of myself into this fight,” he said during a recent media conference call.
The 25-year-old has improved over the last two years and plans to show the world that on July 11.
“I’m not really trying to prove anything. I just believe I have a new attitude, I’ve come a long way, and I feel at my best right now. I’m just going to go in there and show that to the world. I’m just going to perform and the rest will take care of itself,” he said.
MacDonald debuted in the UFC at the age of 20. He’s dedicated his life to martial arts and believes he’s the best that he’s ever been heading into this weekend’s pay-per-view event.
“I love what I do, I love my life, and I’m just going to continue to do what I like in my life. It’s been an incredible journey through martial arts for me, through my years as a teenager and growing up into a man with it,” he said. “So it’s been incredible and I’m just focused now on having the best performance in my life and leaving it all there on July 11.”
Since his arrival in the UFC, there have been lofty expectations for MacDonald. He was dubbed the next heir to the 170-pound throne when his training partner Georges St-Pierre stepped away from fighting following UFC 167. Perhaps UFC 189 is the time that the Canadian lives up to those expectations.
“When I got into the UFC, I knew I wasn’t ready to fight for the belt. When I first got in, I still had a lot of growth to do,” he said. “I needed a lot of experience with top level guys and it took time but, step by step I gained that experience, I kept practicing techniques, developing new styles and keeping an open mind as a martial artist and I’m here.”