Tarec Saffiedine calls out Rory MacDonald: I can beat him (and won't choke)

Suhaimi Abdullah

Saffiedine said he wanted a top five welterweight when he returns to action this September, so why not go straight to the top?

After defeating Hyun Gyu Lim at UFC Fight Night 34 this past January in his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut, Tarec Saffiedine has been sitting on the sidelines with an upper body injury; one he declined to specify.

The unfortunate setback bounced "Sponge" from his scheduled fight against Jake Ellenberger at UFC 174 earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the welterweight division has been on fire, with contender after contender making their case for a shot at the title. Among them is Rory MacDonald, who schooled Tyron Woodley at UFC 174 earlier this month (video) to solidify his spot near the top of the 170-pound ladder.

Still, it wasn't enough to earn himself his much-desired title shot, as UFC President Dana White revealed "Ares" would need to win at least once more.  Enter Saffiedine, who appeared on a recent edition of "The MMA Hour" to express his wish to face MacDonald this September.

Because getting a win over a guy like Rory would put him right back into contention, despite his long layoff.

His words:

"I watched that fight. Rory looked pretty good, he's a great fighter. But you know, after watching the fight, I was like, 'I can beat him.' I have the tools and I have the skills and the mindset to beat the guy. He's a great fighter, one of the best and he's really close to a title shot and I want to fight the best. I truly believe I can beat the guy. Hopefully they give me that chance. I want to fight Rory, he's an amazing fighter and we can put on an amazing fight, I believe. I can beat him."

And unlike Woodley, Tarec says he won't "choke" with the pressure Rory brings.

Currently ranked at No. 10 in the official UFC rankings, "Sponge" is riding a five-fight win streak dating back to his Strikeforce days, when he dominated Nate Marquardt to capture the welterweight title in his final bout for the promotion.

As for Rory, his win over "The Chosen One" marked his second straight after having his previous title run derailed by Robbie Lawler at UFC 167.

Speaking of Lawler, he'll be looking to earn himself another shot at current champion Johny Hendricks, as he takes on the streaking Matt Brown at UFC on FOX 12 in a No. 1 contender's bout.

What say you Maniacs, does a Saffiedine vs. MacDonald showdown make sense, despite the fact that "Sponge" only has one fight and subsequent victory inside the Octagon?

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