The new Bellator welterweight champion is none other than the veteran UFC Canadian phenom, the ‘Red King’ Rory MacDonald. He earned his very first world title in his last outing which was a war with former two-time Bellator champion, Douglas Lima.
In the bout, MacDonald had Lima’s number in the wrestling department as he continually hit takedowns throughout. But his title win didn’t come without some adversity as Lima landed some devastating leg kicks that caused a massive hematoma on MacDonald’s shin. An injury that the new champion told MMAJunkie he’s still recovering from.
“I’m still in the recovery process, actually. I do everyday life pretty normally, but there’s still an injury deep inside my leg. It’s a bit soft on where the hematoma was. It’s not like my other leg. There’s still some time needed for recovery.
It sucks during the fights going through those hard ones, to battle through it. But it always feels good when you can break down barriers in a fight and push through it and push yourself and see how far you can go as a person. I was pretty grateful for that experience to take one more step past a barrier and show myself I can do more and more and handle more and more as a fighter. It builds confidence. I grew a lot through that fight.”
Having gone 9-4 with the UFC, MacDonald has started his Bellator career off about as good as you could with two straight wins. Despite Bellator continuing to stack their welterweight division with the likes of Lorenz Larkin and Jon Fitch, MacDonald isn’t totally sure who he’ll make his first title defense against.
“I don’t think it is [the Lima rematch]. I’ve heard no interest in that from them. They’re looking at trying to get a new contender in there for me. That’s about as far as I know. But from what I’ve heard, and the feeling I’ve got, they’re not interested in a Lima rematch right now. But they know me: I’m willing to take on whoever is the #1 guy in their view. The top contenders in Bellator, there’s not so many contenders. He’s one win away from being the next guy, if he’s not ready. Absolutely I see myself fighting Lima again within the next year or two. I know Koreshkov is up there; I haven’t heard anything about Lorenz. I know he’s like 1-2 [in Bellator] or something like that right now. So I don’t think he’s on the radar. So who knows.”
Whoever is next for MacDonald, MMA fans will be tuning in. He’s one of the very best welterweights in the world and remains the last man to defeat UFC champion, Tyron Woodley.
So when he’s ready to go, who would you like to face MacDonald face? He has also considered moving up for fights at middleweight and even showed interest in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix…yeah, you read that correctly.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/9/2018