by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Former “The Ultimate Fighter 2” cast member Rob “Maximus” MacDonald is in the midst of resurgence.

After a less than stellar stint in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, he has completely overhauled his career, leaving Team Tompkins for Shah Franco, and returning last year with a big win in the Ring of Fire promotion, which earned him the promotion’s 205-pound divisional championship.

Since the win in Ring of Fire in December, MacDonald continues to refine his career, this time by moving to the United States in preparation for his first bout of the year this weekend as steps into the Hardcore Championship Fighting cage Saturday night.

“I’m really excited to get back home in Canada, fight in front of Canadian fans again, and fight for an event like Hardcore Championship Fighting,” exclaimed MacDonald.

“They just signed Assuerio Silva and Babalu (Renato Sobral), who will be at the show along with ‘Big’ John McCarthy. It’s really representing itself as a world-class fight organization and I’m really looking forward to my debut there.”

Along with his jubilation over returning to fight in his native Canada for the first time in five years, MacDonald’s recent relocation has him excited about where his career is headed.

“I resigned from my post as a police officer in Toronto and I moved to Salt Lake City to work with an elite strength and conditioning gym in Salt Lake called Gym Jones and fight full-time,” he said.

“It’s just been a life change, but I’m moving in a positive direction. If you’re going to be a fighter now, you have to dedicate yourself 24/7 to the sport, and that’s what I’m doing.”

MacDonald’s first test under his new direction has him squaring off against fellow former UFC fighter Hector Ramirez at HCF.

“I think it’s a great match-up for both individuals,” he stated. “Hector Ramirez is a world-class guy. If you look at his last fight against Forrest Griffin at UFC 72 it went three rounds, and if you can go three rounds with Forrest Griffin, that shows a lot of heart.

“He’s right up there and it’s going to be one of my tougher tests. It’s a chance to go out and do my thing and see what I’ve learned under Shah Franco and Gym Jones, and put my training into action against a tough guy. We both like to stand up and both like to wrestle, so I think it’s going to make for an exciting fight.”

If things get too hectic standing up, MacDonald’s focus on his ground game over the last year could become the equalizing factor in the fight.

“If I feel that night that I’m comfortable standing up, then I’ll stand up. If not, I’ll look to take it to the ground and use that game to impose my will,” he commented. “We’ll see how things go that night, but with my improved ground I’m ready to take the fight anywhere it needs to go to get a W.”

With no shortage of challengers for his Ring of Fire title, and a likely match-up with either Renato Sobral or HCF light-heavyweight titleholder Antonio Rogerio Nogueira on the line to the winner of MacDonald’s fight with Ramirez, it looks like 2007 could be shaping up to be the kind that MacDonald is looking for.

“For this year all I really want to do is fight top level opponents,” he said. “I’ve only really had eight fights, and if you look at the guys who have reached the pinnacle in the UFC, they have a lot more than eight fights.

“So my goal this is year is to fight, have fun, and learn as much as I can, both in training and on fight night, and really just build myself for a run both this year and years to come.”

Now that he has placed himself in a position to become the fighter he always has wanted to be, Rob MacDonald sits at his own personal exodus, a beginning of a new chapter in his career, a chapter he hopes will lead him to continued success and a rise up the MMA ranks.

“I’d like to thank my camps at Shah Franco and Gym Jones; they’ve been really good to me in a lot of ways and allow me to chase my dream, and for that I couldn’t be more grateful,” closed out MacDonald. “Thanks Brian Cain, my sports psychologist; all the guys in Salt Lake and Toronto who have helped me get ready for this fight; and my family.

“For all the Canadian fans, I’d like to thank them for their support, and check out Hardcore Championship Fighting, it’s a great show with a ton of great fighters on the card. I think it’s going to be one of the biggest shows in Canadian history, so check it out.”