Rarely does a champion call for a rematch against an opponent he already beat, but that is exactly the case with Rory MacDonald and Douglas Lima.
The Bellator welterweight champion exclusively spoke with Bloody Elbow while on a Canada press run with streaming service DAZN.
“Lima is the hardest fight,” MacDonald answered when asked who in the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix he most looks forward to fighting. “I still have something to prove. I am interested in that. If I had just squashed him and rolled over him, probably not as much, but he gave a good fight. It would be interesting.”
MacDonald beat Lima for the welterweight strap in his sophomore Bellator effort. Despite winning a unanimous decision (48-47, 49-45, 49-46), MacDonald was forced to rely on his wrestling and was carried out of the cage thanks to Lima’s chopping leg kicks.
There are plenty of obstacles in the way of MacDonald vs. Lima II. First and foremost, MacDonald needs to beat Jon Fitch at Bellator 220 on April 27. “I feel like I’m going to knock him out in the earlier rounds,” the Canadian shared. “I’m quite motivated to put my best foot forward going into this tournament, to show what I have inside still. I think it will be quite a surprise to people.”
MacDonald is coming off a one-sided loss to Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi in September. That is not the sort of performance he plans on repeating.
“I’m back to my structure, clocking in and out every day,” said MacDonald, who is training exclusively at Tristar in Montreal for the Fitch fight. “My training has been hard and focused... My mind is focused only on preparing for this fight. When I was getting ready for Mousasi, I had other things I was more interested in and dealing with.”
MacDonald is willing to flirt with another go at middleweight, but it is not his immediate focus.
“Maybe,” he said of a move to 185. “I’d like to get my foot book back in the door at welterweight and get my stride going. We’ll see.”
The 29-year-old fighter also touched on the recent retirement of his longtime training partner Georges St-Pierre. “I think he made the right decision. He had a great performance and now he can go back to living and enjoying life,” MacDonald explained. “He has done so much in his career that he can comeback should a big opportunity presents itself.”
Many fighters will attest to how difficult it can be to juggle the rigors of a professional career and life outside of the cage. Cue his wife. Olivia has been a key component of MacDonald’s fight preparation in recent years. She recently posted this throwback photo to their first date.
“I know she said I was crazy for going, but she is the one who wanted to go shoot the gun,” MacDonald laughed. “I don’t think she had ever shot a gun before and I have a bit of a collection at home. We went out and shot some rounds just for fun. Why not have a little bit of adventure and do something difference?”
“It’s very challenging to be a partner with someone in the fight game. It’s very demanding and it’s a very emotional roller coaster of a career,” he confessed. “It takes a special person to be that ride-or-die person... We’re a team in everything we do. She is a major part of my preparation.”
MacDonald defends his welterweight championship against Fitch at Bellator 220 in San Jose. Should he win, MacDonald will next fight dark horse Neiman Gracie and, potentially, after that the winner of Lima vs. Michael Venom Page. Bellator 220 will be streamed exclusively on DAZN.