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Thread: Free of GSP questions, Rory MacDonald ready to seize welterweight title

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    Default Free of GSP questions, Rory MacDonald ready to seize welterweight title

    https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/fre...39149-mma.html

    Free of GSP questions, Rory MacDonald ready to seize welterweight title

    If Rory MacDonald is about to fill Georges St-Pierre’s shoes as Canada’s next mixed martial arts superstar, it’s a role he’ll assume with reluctance.

    “I don’t want to be a superstar,” MacDonald said Saturday night after dispatching Tyron Woodley at UFC 174 in Vancouver. “I just like to fight and hopefully I’ll be a dominant champion and represent Canada well.”

    Whether or not he wants to take the baton, however, MacDonald may not have much of a choice. The 24-year old welterweight, who trains out of Montreal’s Tri Star gym with St-Pierre, went home to British Columbia and was greeted with a hero’s welcome on Saturday. While UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson was the nominal headliner, it was clear MacDonald, whose unanimous decision over Woodley was the evening’s co-headline bout, was the real draw for the crowd of 13,506 at Rogers Arena.

    “The response was great,” MacDonald said at the post-fight news conference. “I feel like I am falling into a groove. Something is clicking.”

    Really, who can blame MacDonald for feeling that way? A year ago, MacDonald appeared to be on the brink of the stardom he seems to shy away from. He was 15-1 after picking apart former two-weight-class champion B.J. Penn on national television and speculation rose as to whether he was in line to face his teammate St-Pierre for the latter's welterweight title.

    But then came the road bumps. He improved to 16-1 with a one-sided win over Jake Ellenberger last July in Seattle, but the fight was so lackluster that MacDonald was all but booed out of the building. Conversely, with the win the pressure to fight St-Pierre escalated.

    Then came the cataclysmic UFC 167 in November. First, MacDonald lost to a resurgent Robbie Lawler. Then came GSP’s controversial split-decision win over Johny Hendricks, which led to a chain of events that ended in St-Pierre vacating his title and taking time off from the sport.

    If nothing else, when the dust settled, MacDonald realized the pressure was off and he was free to go back to the drawing board, free from the pressure to fight GSP.

    “It’s quite nice not having to answer that question after answering it almost every single interview,” said MacDonald. “It’s a pressure lifted, a distraction that’s gone.”

    A win over veteran Demian Maia at UFC 170 put MacDonald back in the win column. Hendricks’ narrow victory over Lawler at UFC 171 to claim the title vacated by St-Pierre was the next domino to fall. A handful of fighters are jostling for the next shot at Hendricks’ title. Saturday night was MacDonald’s chance to state his case.

    “I think this is probably my best performance of my career so far,” MacDonald said. “I’ve got to watch the tape, but the feeling I have right now I’m pretty happy right now. Except closing the fight I didn’t get the finish, but things went well.

    “I wanted to get in there, I wanted to mix it up and I wanted to stay busy,” he continued. “I wanted to close the fight, I came in really good shape and I was looking for the finish tonight.”

    The flip side of the coin is that Woodley fell flat in one of the biggest opportunities of his career. The 32-year old St. Louis native had openly campaigned his way into the welterweight picture, asking for, and receiving, a fight with Carlos Condit, which Woodley won via injury TKO at UFC 171 in March.

    Against MacDonald, though, Woodley looked lost. MacDonald pressed forward and mixed up all sorts of strikes, leaving Woodley backpedaling and second-guessing himself. Woodley has been critiqued for running out of gas in his fights, and in the third, MacDonald effortlessly took down Woodley, a former college wrestler, and kept him there.

    Certainly, Woodley (13-3) isn’t the only fighter MacDonald has thrown off his game, but the person who holds the key to his future, UFC president Dana White, was far from impressed.

    "[Woodley] choked in the big fight tonight," White said. "He needed to come out and try to rip that head off in the third round and he didn't even do that. He threw a few punches, missed and didn't knock him out. He just sort of sat back into the way he fought the rest of the fight."

    Sounds like bad news for Woodley. For MacDonald, though, the sky once again appears to be the limit, whether he wishes to soar to the greatest heights or not. The next shot at UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks has been promised to the winner of a July 26 bout in San Jose between Lawler and Matt Brown. But these sort of things are never quite etched in stone in the UFC, and MacDonald is lying in wait, should anything muck up the works between now and then.

    “I just wanted to say I respect the decision of the UFC,” MacDonald said. "There’s two guys ahead of me, but if that fight’s a stinker I’ll be ready. They should know I’m ready. One day, very soon, the belt will be mine.”

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    I'm having an incredibly difficult time trying to imagine a reality where a Matt Brown/Robbie Lawler fight is lackluster and boring. I think I should give up because I just can't.

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    Yeah, no way in hell. Someone is getting knocked out in that fight.

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    The notion that Brown should be ahead of Rory is so stupid it's painful. His only loss in the last four years is a split decision to Lawler. Exciting doesn't mean Brown's earned it. He needs to string together some wins against ranked opponents. He'll be outclassed and KTFO soon enough anyway. Then all those saying he deserves a title shot can just head back down to their parents basement and play with the action figure and pretend he's a champion all they want.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grambino View Post
    The notion that Brown should be ahead of Rory is so stupid it's painful. His only loss in the last four years is a split decision to Lawler. Exciting doesn't mean Brown's earned it. He needs to string together some wins against ranked opponents. He'll be outclassed and KTFO soon enough anyway. Then all those saying he deserves a title shot can just head back down to their parents basement and play with the action figure and pretend he's a champion all they want.
    I'm not sold brown deserves a title shot either man but damn... That's some hate... Lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by grambino View Post
    The notion that Brown should be ahead of Rory is so stupid it's painful. His only loss in the last four years is a split decision to Lawler. Exciting doesn't mean Brown's earned it. He needs to string together some wins against ranked opponents. He'll be outclassed and KTFO soon enough anyway. Then all those saying he deserves a title shot can just head back down to their parents basement and play with the action figure and pretend he's a champion all they want.
    I agree that Rory should be ranked ahead of Brown. And he is. He has three wins over current top ten fighters (four in UFC's top fifteen) while Brown has two top fifteen wins during his seven fight win streak. Brown gets his chance against the highest ranked fighter that isn't holding the title. If he finishes Lawler and comes out of it unscathed, it's hard not to give it to him. But if the winner is injured, Rory would certainly be the most likely candidate to get the call.

    By the way, I bought a CM Punk action figure to use as Matt Brown. I just pretend that the words straight edge really say IMMORTAL.

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    I've always liked Rory a lot, but I wouldn't be too confident in him against Hendricks just yet. I wish we could the rematch with Lawler or Condit (if he wasn't injured).

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    might be unfair but i didn't like rory after he beat the fuck outta penn. hahaha. such a sad moment. poor penn.
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