Earlier this afternoon, news surfaced that former Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald has parted ways with the Viacom-owned promotion and signed with the Professional Fighters League (PFL). While this is exciting news for MacDonald and the PFL, it does represent an unfortunate twist for fans who were hoping to see a rematch between MacDonald and reigning Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima in the future.
Lima and MacDonald are tied 1-1 across two exciting fights, and now, with MacDonald moving to another promotion, it seems unlikely that we’ll see them meet in a tie-breaker anytime soon.
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Lima reacted to MacDonald’s departure from Bellator. He admits he was both surprised and disappointed by the news.
“I’m a little bit disappointed,” Lima said. “It definitely did surprise me. It was unexpected. We had a close first fight, second one was a little better, but not as exciting. I thought we were going to do the third fight. But whatever. I got the belt. That’s what I wanted. It wasn’t about revenge or anything. I just wanted my title.”
That being said, MacDonald is grateful for his rivalry with MacDonald, and credits the Canadian with helping him grow as a fighter.
“The first fight is what changed me the most,” Lima said. “It was so close, it was a battle. So much more things I could’ve done, but I didn’t because of a mental block that I had there. But you learn from fighting, and it kind of changed me and it helped me so much. I definitely learned a lot more from fighting him than anyone else in the first fight. I showed that through the tournament, then I beat him in the rematch. You learn something from everyone in every fight, but Rory was the most, for sure.
“I have to be thankful for him. He taught me a lot in our first fight. I’m never going to forget that. It really helped me in my career just being in the cage with him all that time. But it’s over now. That chapter is closed.”
What do you think of these comments from Douglas Lima? What are your thoughts on Rory MacDonald’s departure from Bellator?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/18/2019.