clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Former UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald announces MMA retirement after PFL playoffs loss

Rory MacDonald calls it a career after nearly 20 years in the cage.

Rory MacDonald while competing at PFL 3.
Rory MacDonald while competing at PFL 3.
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

At PFL 8 this past weekend former UFC title challenger and Bellator champion Rory MacDonald was eliminated from the welterweight playoffs by first round TKO. Shortly after, the 33-year-old announced his retirement from MMA.

‘Red King’ broke the news of his exit from the sport via Instagram.

“My time has come to put the gloves down for good. im so thankful for this sport and every person ive been able to meet along the way.

i started this sport as a 14 yr old kid, i still remember my first day and knowing this is what i wanna spend my life doing. the passion for martial arts and becoming a pro mma fighter gave me hope and a way to a better life! and im so thankful to god for putting that gym toshido mma in kelowna in my path. it truly changed the direction of my life and saved me!

what an adventure this career has been, 17 years of professional fighting. it all came and went so fast! so many painful trainings that are etched into my being, travelling to all parts of the planet and meeting so many people.

ive learned so much about myself through this career, not all of it good . and ive made so many mistakes along the way, but here i am 33 yrs old a better man becuase of those mistakes, to which im very grateful ive grown up lol

i wanna thank all of my fans that have been so supportive, i never got into the sport for fame or any acknowledgement and its been hard adjusting to attention like that but i am truly thankful for your kindess youve shown me!

thank you to all my friends and family that have went out of there way to help me live out my dream of fighting at the highest level of mma, thank you for believing in me, and caring so much, youve been so generous and i love you you all.

thank you to the ufc, bellator, pfl for the opportunity to fight on the world stage

and all the staff of those organizations, youve all be really cool ppl to hangout and work with, sorry you had to put up with me being cranky and needy most of the time we spent together

thank you to my coaches and my training partners and managers!”

MacDonald’s first pro fight was all the way back in 2005. On the the Canadian regional circuit MacDonald built a 9-0 record before signing with the UFC in 2010.

His Octagon debut was a first round submission win over Mike Guymon. In his second UFC bout he was matched-up with Carlos Condit at UFC 115.

In front of his hometown crowd in Vancouver, BC, MacDonald looked to have the beating of Condit early on. However, ‘The Natural Born Killer’ staged a late comeback in the third round to finish MacDonald by TKO with just seven seconds left on the clock.

After that loss MacDonald went on a tear, winning five fights — including victories over Nate Diaz and B.J. Penn. MacDonald then met Robbie Lawler and lost to the future champion by split decision.

After another run of victories, this time over Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine, MacDonald was rematched with Lawler; this time for the UFC welterweight title.

Lawler vs. MacDonald 2 at 2015’s UFC 189 will live on as one of the most engrossing, and brutal, contests the Octagon has ever staged. That bout, which saw both MacDonald and Lawler take a tremendous amount of damage, ended with a TKO win for Lawler in the fifth round.

MacDonald left the UFC two years later and signed with Bellator. With Bellator he won the welterweight title and challenged for the middleweight title. He left that organization in 2019 after amassing a 3-2-1 record there.

He signed for the PFL in 2021. In his first season with the PFL he was eliminated in the welterweight semifinals by eventual tournament winner Ray Cooper III.

Over two years in the PFL MacDonald went 2-4.

MacDonald’s overall record stands at 23-10-1.