Canadian welterweight Rory MacDonald is well known as one of the top 170-pound fighters in the UFC, despite being just 23 years old. He made his pro debut at 16 and was the King of the Cage world lightweight champion by the time he was 19. He entered the UFC at 20 and has picked up wins over the likes of Nate Diaz, Mike Pyle, and B.J. Penn. It all makes for a great story. But the one part of the tale that's slipped under the radar a bit is how many times the Tri-Star product has had to pull out of fights due to injury.
After going 1-1 over his early tenure with the company (including a loss to Carlos Condit with just seven seconds left in their UFC 115 fight), MacDonald was scheduled to meet Matt Brown at UFC 123. Unfortunately for Rory, he suffered a knee injury and was forced to pull out. He returned on the undercard of the big UFC 129 show in Toronto where he beat Nate Diaz, and got back in the cage just three months later and stopped Mike Pyle in the first round at UFC 133. So far so good.
But things have really started to pile up in the last 18 months. MacDonald was scheduled to face Brian Ebersole at UFC 140, but pulled out with an undisclosed injury that was never publicized for some reason. He beat Che Mills at UFC 145, then was set to meet B.J. Penn at UFC 152. Unfortunately he suffered a cut above his eyebrow in training that was down to the bone and required 38 stitches, which pushed him off that card. That bout was rescheduled for UFC on Fox 5 this past December, and Rory won handily.
Fast-forward to last weekend. MacDonald was preparing for his rematch with Carlos Condit in the co-main event of UFC 158, but suffered a neck/back injury that removed him from another marquee card. That's four injuries and withdrawals in three years.
This leads to a few obvious questions about MacDonald and his training - Does he lack durability? Is he going too hard in the gym? Or is it all just plain old bad luck? After all, cuts and training injuries can happen to anyone and often do. I don't think there are many conclusions to be drawn yet considering how young he is, but it might be something to pay attention to in the future. If the injuries, however minor or major, continue to build up, it could have an impact on the longevity of his career. And that would be a shame, because he's one of the most talented fighters I've ever seen.