Rory MacDonald's jabtastic victory over Jake Ellenberger at UFC on Fox 8 had its share of supporters. It also had its share of detractors; chief among that group was MacDonald's boss, UFC president Dana White.
After the fight, White sent MacDonald a clear message; keep fighting like that and you'll find a title shot just out of reach for a long while. More specifically, White said of MacDonald's performance:
That fight sucked so bad. He threw a few jabs and some front kicks, that's it. I don't think he moves down the ladder, but do you think anybody's screaming to see him in a fight again? Unfortunately gentleman, we live in a business that you're as good as your last fight. We live in a world where people want to see guys put on exciting fights.
White did have praise for MacDonald's overall tenure with the UFC, saying that he remains one of the best in the world at 170-pounds. White also added that he hoped MacDonald, currently ranked No. 3 in the UFC's welterweight division would use the Ellenberger fight, and the reactions to that fight as a learning experience.
White's message was far from subtle, so it's no surprise that MacDonald took the words to heart. Evidence of that fact was found in MacDonald's remarks when he was in Montreal to talk about his upcoming UFC 167 fight against No. 10 ranked UFC welterweight Robbie Lawler. MacDonald told MMAJunkie.com:
There was a lot of criticism about (my most recent fight.) I've taken some advice to be a little more exciting, a little more aggressive and also balancing it with being a technical fighter, so there was a lot to learn from that fight.
MacDonald (15-1) enters UFC 167 on a five-fight winning streak, while Lawler (21-9-1) is 2-0 since returning to the UFC in February of this year.
Lawler's two wins have both come via knockout, and the heavy hands that ended those fights are something he has in common with Ellenberger. What Lawler does not have in common with MacDonald's last opponent is a propensity for trash talking, and that verbosity is not something that MacDonald misses as the November 16 fight date nears.
It's a nice change having a guy who doesn't talk and just comes to fight, and I appreciate that. We'll put on a good show.
Judging from White's words after the Ellenberger fight, a good show is nothing short of a must for MacDonald.
MacDonald and Lawler will meet at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 16. The headlining bout on the card will see MacDonald's teammate, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre defend his title against top-ranked contender Johny Hendricks.
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