With his career on standstill due to the ongoing pandemic, Rory MacDonald has had the opportunity to reflect on the highs and lows of his fighting career.
During an interview with MMA Fighting, the 30-year old revealed the moments that have defined his 15-year professional career.
“I kind of slip under the radar, the fact that I’m only 30 years old and I’ve kind of been involved in the sport coming up on 17 years I’ve been in involved in mixed martial arts,” MacDonald said. “More than half my life, I’ve been focused on this sport. It’s been my life’s work.”
The former Bellator champion signed a multi-fight deal with PFL for 2020. However, the organization has chosen to delay its upcoming season due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the Canadian is currently waiting for the opportunity to fight again.
In the meantime, “Red King” has been keeping busy in training and is confident the switch to PFL will cement his legacy in the sport.
“I’m excited for this new journey with PFL. Being a fighter in my 30s now, I feel like everything’s coming together in my life and in my own head, my approach to fighting. I think I’m going to have some really good years ahead of me. Make a name for myself, a legacy for myself in the sport.”
MacDonald has accomplished a lot in his career, most notably winning the Bellator welterweight strap, but credits his early fighting days for making him the man he is today.
“I have a bunch of really special moments that I cherish,” MacDonald explained. “Something that was really special to me was right before my UFC career, my coach and my manager, we were talking with [matchmakers] Sean Shelby or Joe Silva and basically I had gotten bigger as a teenager and I was starting to move up to welterweight. I was a lightweight fighter. But they wanted me to get a couple wins at welterweight before bringing me in.
“So I had two fights basically on my contract with King of the Cage and I fought two welterweight fights. I remember that last fight and I won, I just had a ‘I did it’ [moment]. I made it to the next level, what I’ve been dreaming about, getting into the UFC. So that was a pretty special moment.”
Ultimately, the welterweight would leave the UFC and ink a deal with Bellator MMA. In only his second fight in the company, he would become the 170-pound champion after beating Douglas Lima. This led Macdonald onto another exciting challenge, the opportunity to become a two-division champion.
MacDonald would challenge the 185-pound champion, Gegard Mousasi for the belt and eventually lose by TKO in the second round. Macdonald admitted that underestimating his opponent for the middleweight belt was one of his biggest regrets.
“If I had to pick one [biggest regret], it would be my preparation leading up to the [Gegard] Mousasi fight,” MacDonald revealed. “That was a huge opportunity and I didn’t take it serious enough. Obviously, I got absolutely crushed.
“I can’t cry over spilled milk now. It is what it is. I just have to learn from it and persevere to get where I want to go.”
What are your favorite Rory MacDonald moments?