If that happens, that’s where team loyalty, friendship and career goals turn into massive contradictions for MacDonald. He and St-Pierre have trained together, and clips of them sparring just aired over the weekend on FOX’s Countdown to the Octagon. St-Pierre has gone on record as saying that MacDonald will, in time, surpass him and have even more career success.
White has talked in the past that when the day comes, and MacDonald realizes the kind of money St-Pierre makes as champion, that he’ll want that shot. For now, MacDonald isn’t convinced.
"No, I won’t be fighting Georges," he said, leaving no room for interpretation. "When the fight comes, if we ever had to meet up, we wouldn’t fight. I’m not fighting him."
MacDonald said that he feels he could move up to 185 pounds if St-Pierre remains in the way of his path to welterweight gold. In doing so, he’d be sacrificing the strong power edge he has over most fighters at 170, a weight he has no trouble making. But there is still a lot on the horizon, including both men’s next fight, to where it’s not a decision he has to think about.
"We’ll see," he said. "I don’t want to think about it until the time. I’ll keep fighting. He’ll keep fighting. It’ll work its way out. I could go up (to middleweight) for sure."
MacDonald attributes his neck problems to the way he trained, and his excitement to avenge his loss to Condit. People talk about things being a life-changing loss, but in his case, that was it.
MacDonald, then 20, had one UFC fight when he was thrown to the wolves against Condit, a heavy favorite and one of the best welterweights in the world for years. Surprisingly, he dominated Condit for two rounds, before getting tired and finished in the third.
So he left Kelowna, his family, his training partners, his girlfriend and all of his friends. "After I lost to Carlos, I moved two months later."
"There were lots of changes," he said. "French speaking is the big one. It’s a bigger city, not knowing where I was going was a big one, not having things here, like a car, resources, it was all new coming here by myself. But it was a good experience for me."
"I was pretty excited to rematch him," he said about the scheduled March fight. "I still am. I think I was a little too excited, too anxious. I’m taking a different mindset now. What’s in the past is in the past. If we ever do fight again, it’ll be completely different from the first fight. I won’t bring any ill will from the first fight. I’ll be a new fight, a new completely different fight."
The injuries, one of which happened training wrestling, the other in jiu-jitsu, were his warning sign that he was getting too excited in camp.
"It’s different," he said about the mental aspect of his training now. "It’s not my training regimen that’s different. It’s more my attitude, a little bit of the intensity, the movements, how I’m moving my body. It’s not my training that’s different."
MacDonald talks in a very deliberate cerebral style when discussing Ellenberger, noting his training has been more to focus on getting himself in the best possible condition, and not tailoring his training to his opponent’s style.
"He’s a good fighter, a powerful striker, good KO artist," said MacDonald. "He’s got a lot of things going for him and some things that are weaknesses, and I believe my strengths will exploit those weaknesses."
Ellenberger has been working hard building up the fight, in particular saying that he doesn’t think MacDonald should be ranked No. 3 by the UFC.
"I haven’t said anything that wasn’t true," Ellenberger said last week at a UFC press call. "And my message to Rory is pretty clear, for him to start testing some flavors of baby food and find out which ones you like and stock up, because this isn’t the Tears for Fears look alike contest. All I said to him was prepare for some horizontal television time, and I meant it."
MacDonald admits he wasn’t expecting the new Ellenberger when it came to his building up the fight, but isn't concerned with it one way or the other.
"It’s very unusual the way he speaks about a lot of things," said MacDonald. "I really don’t understand some of his one-liners. Some of them feel like he’s rehearsed things he wrote down, but I really don’t know. I don’t really care. I just want to fight someone and I want to fight the best in the world. That’s all it is. That’s my job. It’s nothing personal."