For some, witnessing the birth of their children is the greatest moment of their lives. For others, it's getting the much-deserved promotion at work.
For young mixed martial arts (MMA) warriors like Rory MacDonald, it's being involved in one of the grittiest, bloodiest and most brutal fights in the history of the sport.
That was the case when he and Robbie Lawler went toe-to-toe at UFC 189, waging war on each other for 4.5 rounds before "Ruthless" put the finishing touches on "Red King" by crushing his already broken nose to put to end the fight.
Despite the loss, BROKEN FACE and failing to capture his first-ever world title, MacDonald recently declared on "The MMA Hour" (via MMA Fighting) that the experience was the greatest moment of his life.
"The greatest moment of my life. The best experience, it was a real experience, it showed me who I was. It was the best moment of my entire life. Obviously I'm disappointed that I didn't win, I wasn't able to push through and stop him, but at the end of the day, it was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I'm grateful for it."
Prior to getting knocked out, MacDonald was up on the judges' scorecards and only needed to survive the fifth and final round to become champion. "Red King," though, isn't going to beat himself up, saying that the bottomline is Lawler did what he had to do to retain his title.
"The reality is, he stopped me. I wasn't slipping his punches when I should have been, I wasn't using good technique and movement, you know? The foot was keeping me stationary, and he did what he had to do. He's the champ for a reason. I learned from it. I think it's going to help me grow as a martial artist. It shows me what it's going to take to be a champion, and the changes I need to make to get to that level, to get a little bit better so I can get to that level."
Often called a safe and "boring" fighter, MacDonald says he's been feeling the love after the fight. Still, he isn't going to fall for it -- he knows jsut how fickle fans can be. In fact, anything other than a repeat performance of UFC 189 will likely cause fans to revert to the old criticism.
"It seems like he gets a lot more love, before this fight I was ‘the boring guy,' after the Jake [Ellenberger] fight. Even though I was knocking people out and getting 'Fight of the Night,' people don't give a shit, they hear one guy say that I had a boring fight, so now I'm ‘the boring guy,' now I have a good fight, so I'm cool again. It's all fickle. I don't care. I know who I am. ... My next fight could be fucking boring again and shitty and they could hate me again. Who knows."
For now, MacDonald will be on the mend to heal multiple injuries suffered during the bout and some existing ones he had prior.
Once he's ready and able, the Canadian star hopes to return to the Octagon this December. And with the right opponent, he could find himself on this potential blockbuster pay-per-view (PPV) event. That could be wishful thinking, though, considering his recovery has seemingly hit a snag.