Fighting a training partner has always been a prickly thing in MMA. Some guys from some camps absolutely refuse to even consider the option. Other camps have fractured because of potential title fights. In the case of Rory MacDonald, Georges St. Pierre, and Tri-Star, things are still up in the air. MacDonald, who faces Jake Ellenberger at UFC on Fox 8 this summer, might be forced to choose between loyalty and career advancement if he wins that bout and GSP beats Johny Hendricks.
Rory was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani and made it clear he wouldn't find GSP - but them sort of left the door open to the idea seconds later (via MMA Fighting):
"We're not fighting," MacDonald said. "Me and Georges are friends, we're training partners. We'll have our own arrangements and figure it all out when the time comes. It's not going to come to us fighting. Friends, teammates, you know? We're here to help each other."
When asked to clarify his "arrangements" comment, MacDonald reiterated his ultimate goal in the sport is to become a champion.
"We'll just figure it out," MacDonald said. "I'm not there yet. I'm more focused on Jake than anything, I'm taking it one step at a time. I'm sure at one point I'll be champ in this division, that is my goal. I'm not just here to be No. 3 guy or No. 4 or whatever I'm ranked. Eventually I'll get there."
MacDonald also responded to Ellenberger's comments that he's "not really sold on him yet" and that Rory hasn't beaten a top-10 fighter:
"When I hear stuff like that I just feel like he's trying to build himself up and his confidence," MacDonald said. "Self-conscious people have to sometimes build themselves up to give themselves confidence. Maybe he's right, he has some points that I haven't really fought anyone in the top 10, but, I mean, you gotta to get there somehow. I've been winning, and I have fight top 10 guys eventually and he's one of them. I guess he'll be my breakthrough fight."
As for whether Ellenberger might be looking past the fight, MacDonald said "Maybe he is, maybe he's talking bulls---. I don't know, I never really listen to his interviews, but I don't really care, really. At the end of the day it's just going to be a fight, I really don't have any beef with him, I really don't know the guy, I like watching his fights. We're professional fighters and we signed a contract to fight."
We'll find out on July 27th whether Rory can make this a real discussion or not.