Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC 167 blew the roof off the MGM Grand Garden Arena last Saturday night (Nov. 16, 2013) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Many combatants were left licking their wounds after a wild night of fights, including Josh Koscheck, who was knocked out by Tyron Woodley in the very first round (highlights here). And Johny Hendricks, who was robbed twice, as the judges denied him the chance to become the new welterweight champion of the world and Georges St-Pierre shot down any chances of an immediate rematch due to his temporary retirement (highlights here).
But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover now two days removed from the show?
The young 170-pound stalwart was seemingly one victory away from earning his much-desired shot at the division strap; all he had to do was collect his sixth straight win by defeating knockout artist, Robbie Lawler.
Lawler did what Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White said he would, and that's bring the fight to "Ares." Lawler, though tentative in the opening round, was determined to impose his will on the sometimes too calculated fighter in order to earn his third straight victory.
After a fairly close opening two rounds, Lawler sealed the deal by flooring MacDonald with a vicious hook (relive it here.) When a winded Lawler couldn't' get the finish, "Ares" managed to score a late takedown and rain down some elbows in an attempt to steal the round.
In the end, it was too little, too late, as the judges awarded the split decision victory to a resurgent Robbie.
So, what went wrong for Rory?
The exact same thing that happened to him in 2010 when he suffered the first loss of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career at the hands of Carlos Condit, he simply ran into a better fighter.
Sure, both losses were razor-close and as talented as MacDonald is, "Ruthless" and "The Natural Born Killer" proved to be just a tad better.
Once hailed to be the heir to "GSP's" throne, MacDonald will now be forced to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch in a talent-riddled division that will make the climb to the top much tougher than before.
The welterweight landscape has changed in the past 24 months and racking up another five-fight win streak against the likes of Matt Brown, Carlos Condit, Johny Hendricks, Tarec Saffiedine, Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley will be hell of a lot tougher than doing it against opponents such as a declining B.J. Penn, Che Mills, Jake Ellenberger, Mike Pyle and Nate Diaz.
Having said that, Rory should face the loser of the UFC on FOX 9 scrap between the aforementioned Matt Brown and Carlos Condit. Either one of those two men will provide another stiff challenge for the young Canadian coming off a loss.
Dana White was recently quoted as saying that labeling "Ares" as St-Pierre's predecessor was a bit premature because no one knew if Rory was "good enough" to be champion.
And after this past weekend's performance, it seems the answer is: He isn't.
Not at this time, at least.