When Rory MacDonald steps into the octagon against Demian Maia at UFC 170, he will be making his ninth appearance. That’s a lot of experience and octagon time, considering he’s only 24. Despite being so young, he’s been able to have a sterling career with the UFC thus far. He’s battled and beaten some tough opponents, such as B.J. Penn, Jake Ellenberger and Nate Diaz.
In each of these fights, it’s was quite amazing to see how composed he was, as if he was already a gritty veteran of the sport, who has seen and done it all in his fighting career. MacDonald was so successfully that he was knocking on the door of a title shot until he faced Robbie Lawler. Being one of the most dangerous punchers in the UFC, Lawler was able to outpoint MacDonald and also stuff his takedowns, which is a credit to Robbie’s training at American Top Team.
The loss proved that MacDonald was not quite ready to face the elite of the division, but he’s looking to prove otherwise when he faces Maia this upcoming weekend. On paper, this is a great fight for MacDonald. He’s a very big welterweight. So big, in fact, that he was talking about moving up to middleweight at some point in his career. This, combined with his excellent jab and footwork, will play a huge factor in his fight with Maia.
Maia has showcased some amazing skills in the welterweight division, but he showed some weaknesses as well against Jake Shields. Maia’s opponent was able to out-grapple him to earn a split decision, and MacDonald will need to employ the same strategy to come out the victor. They say it’s not the success that makes a fighter, but how they battle back from adversity. MacDonald starts his journey back to title contention this weekend, and he’s got an excellent shot at proving the doubters wrong and beating Maia in all facets of MMA, including on the ground.