While Rory MacDonald spent the last few months preparing for his Bellator welterweight title fight with Douglas Lima (which he won via hard-fought decision), he’s also repeatedly expressed interest in serving as an alternate in Bellator’s Heavyweight Grand Prix.
This Heavyweight Grand Prix is populated by far larger men in Matt Mitrione, Roy Nelson, Chael Sonnen, Ryan Bader, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, Frank Mir, and Fedor Emelianenko. Despite the fact that entering this tournament would force MacDonald to fight men three weight classes heavier than him, his coach Firas Zahabi is all for it. In fact, he believes MacDonald could thrive in this tournament, even KO the likes of the legend Fedor Emelianenko.
“Rory has got that experience, has got that hunger. He’s in his prime now. Now’s the time to take those chances. If you asked me [about his joining a heavyweight tournament] two, three years ago, I would’ve said no. Now’s the right time. This is it.”
While MacDonald’s entering the Heavyweight Grand Prix as an alternate is certainly a fun idea in theory, it seems unlikely, as Bellator has already filled two of its four alternate spots with Cheick Kongo and Javy Ayala, and CEO Scott Coker doesn’t seem keen on letting his welterweight champ move up to heavyweight.
“As far as him fighting at heavyweight, the thing I love about Rory is he’s a real martial artist and the weight class issues doesn’t bother him,” Coker said on a recent episode of The MMA Hour. “But I think that we’ll probably stick to heavyweights or fighters that can actually make it over 205 pounds.”
How do you think Bellator welterweight champ Rory MacDonald would fare at heavyweight?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/1/2018.