What's next for Rory MacDonald?
That's a good question. Since "Ares" didn't exactly blow the roof off the KeyArena last weekend in Seattle, outpointing opponent Jake Ellenberger en route to a ho-hum unanimous decision win at UFC on FOX 8, there has been a lot of speculation regarding what comes next for the welterweight division's prodigal son.
Some of that comes from his affiliation with Tristar gym, home to current 170-pound champion Georges St. Pierre.
Unless MacDonald or St. Pierre lose in the near future, it's only a matter of time before they become the top two fighters in the division. While they claim a teammate vs. teammate fight is out of the question, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White disagrees.
His comments at the UFC World Press Tour stop in New York:
"Those two will fight. Here’s what they’re not going to do: they’re not going to publicly sit here and call each other out and go up and see each other in the gym and face each other. They’re both professionals. They understand that they’re both on this path to collide, and I think when the day comes, they’ll deal with it then. I think that’s the way they’re looking at it, First of all, Rory lives in his house, meaning his gym. He lives in Montreal, trains with him, Georges says all kinds of good things about him. How weird would it be after the fight the other night if he got on the mic and said, ‘I want Georges St. Pierre and I want his belt’? It would be a little awkward flying back to Montreal and training on Monday, I think these guys are handling it like professionals, doing their thing and when the day comes when they’re there, I guarantee you they’ll fight.'
A couple of problems arise from this situation.
First of all, St. Pierre must defeat Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 later this year in Las Vegas, which is as tall a task as he has faced in his career. Many mixed martial arts (MMA) fans believe Hendricks has what it takes to dethrone the welterweight champion.
Heck, even "Rush" has come out and said he is aware he will eventually lose, just as Anderson Silva did.
Secondly, does MacDonald truly deserve the shot at this moment? With a division as heavy on talent as UFC's welterweight pool is, I am of the belief that he didn't do himself any favors against "The Juggernaut." I would imagine "Ares" needs another stellar, highlight-reel style victory to be put into the true number-one contender slot.
It also wouldn't hurt to rectify the loss he suffered against Carlos Condit at UFC 115. MacDonald has already said he will take whoever UFC puts in front of him and this is the attitude needed to succeed.
The match-up between MacDonald and St. Pierre is intriguing, because of their clash in styles, but it will also be great watching the teacher handle the student with everything on the line.
But is it "guaranteed?"