Rory MacDonald (R) attempts a front kick to the face of Nate Diaz (L) at UFC 129 on April 30, 2011.
One of the hottest up-and-comers in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ranks today is ready to prove to the mixed martial arts (MMA) world that he is ready to shed the "prospect" label and leap into legit title contender ... if he hasn't done so already.
Fast rising UFC Welterweight, Rory MacDonald steps into the Octagon this weekend (April 21, 2012) at UFC 145 after an eight-month layoff because of injury as the 22 year-old Canadian takes on former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) hopeful, Che Mills.
The match up may have caught a few people by surprise, given the fact that many expected MacDonald to get a "bigger" name after defeating the likes of Nate Diaz and Mike Pyle, as well as giving Carlos Condit all he could handle in their June 2010 match up at UFC 115, which saw the young fighter fall victim to a questionable late stoppage.
Not to say Mills isn't a great fighter by any means. In fact, he, too, has been on a recent tear, winning five consecutive fights. The match up, however, was a bit strange, given the fact that Mills has only one UFC bout under his belt and is now co-headlining one of the biggest cards of the years opposite MacDonald, who UFC President Dana White and Georges St. Pierre consider to be the next "GSP."
None of that matters, though, as MacDonald cannot overlook Mills this weekend in Atlanta, Ga., if he hopes to continue his rise up from prospect to contender. Speaking via his SportsNet blog, MacDonald says he is out to prove his vast improvement from his last outing and is looking for an early stoppage win.
Check it out:
"Fight week is finally here and I can't wait to get my hands on my next opponent Che Mills, and add him to my list of beaten victims. I've been preparing for this moment for weeks, months even, and am so close I can almost taste it. The hard work is done, the time is nearly up, and I'm itching to show the world what I've been working on all this time. There won't be any negativity in my head at this point. No doubt, anxiety or fear. I don't allow any of that stuff to enter my head. If anything, this is the most confident and self-assured I have ever been in my life. You have to be, moments before you step in the Octagon and fight. You have no other choice. As far as the fight is concerned, I hope to achieve what I always hope to achieve. I plan on showing techniques that I've been working hard on in the gym and, as always, try to project a better version of myself than the fans saw last time I fought. Oh, and I'm gunning for another stoppage win. The quicker, the better."
A win for MacDonald could set him up nicely for a top contender his next time out, a loss could be disastrous for the young star, given the fact that he already has his sights set on capturing the title at 170-pounds and moving up to the Middleweight division and wreaking havoc there.
Looking to spoil the party is Mills, an Englishman who looks to make the most of this great opportunity and prove that he indeed deserves the right to co-main event a huge card, and make a name for himself in the process by getting past the very tough and talented McDonald.
Something, rather someone, has got to give in "Hotlanta" on fight night. Who's it going to be?