Rory MacDonald will be inside the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on New Year's Eve and will pay close attention to the fight for the $ 1 million PFL welterweight championship between Ray Cooper III and David Michaud. If the "Red King,quot; plays his cards well, he will be in his second consecutive final of a $ 1 million tournament around next year.
MacDonald failed to claim the $ 1 million prize in a unanimous decision loss to Douglas Lima in the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix final at the end of October. After becoming a free agent shortly thereafter, the appeal of becoming a welterweight champion and snatching $ 1 million in the PFL was too much for the 30-year-old Canadian to overlook. The veteran signed with the company earlier this month.
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"I think it's a great opportunity and I want to go out and get money this time," MacDonald told Sporting News about securing the stock market in 2020. "That's my goal. I want to go out and pursue my goal in a big way."
After enjoying a welterweight championship reign as part of his more than two years with Bellator MMA, MacDonald said he was willing to re-sign with the company, but chose to go with the PFL after he turned it into a true believer
"The PFL really stepped forward and gave me the best opportunity, the best feeling and I believe in them, their growth and being part of this," MacDonald said. "I believe in free agency and look for what you think you're worth. It was open to everyone, but as I said, PFL was what I really believed."
MacDonald (21-6-1) is looking to continue an MMA career held, having gone 9-4 in the UFC with victories over the respected tastes of Nate Díaz, B.J. Penn, Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley. Consecutive losses to Robbie Lawler in July 2015 and Stephen Thompson in June 2016 were signed by the "Red King,quot; with Bellator that same year.
After debuting at Bellator with a throttling submission in the second round about Paul Daley in May 2017, MacDonald obtained a unanimous decision on Lima in January 2018 to capture the welterweight title.
He dared to be great after Gegard Mousasi, climbing to middleweight and receiving a loss by technical knockout in the second round that September.
Then, 2019 arrived, and MacDonald had a one-year-old roller coaster, both physical and mental. After fighting Jon Fitch in a draw in April, MacDonald stood in the cage and wondered publicly if he had the heart to continue inflicting pain on his opponents.
In June, he spoke with Sporting News to get the clarity and sense of purpose he needed. That same month, he dominated Neiman Gracie by a unanimous decision and landed in the final of the Welterweight World Grand Prix.
MacDonald entered that fight with the strategy of knocking down Lima. However, he failed when the Brazilian refilled his attempts and made the Canadian pay with kicks and blows towards a unanimous decision.
Despite the loss, MacDonald showed that he was able to overcome the mental obstacle he experienced after facing Fitch. He showed that he has more exciting MMA moments to offer fans of fights.
In addition, MacDonald believes that the PFL season format only corresponds to his career.
"I think it's great," said MacDonald. "Knowing your calendar in advance, the format of the season, I think everything works pretty well. Seeing the group of boys in your category motivates you and keeps you hungry. You see the prize at the end and your performance is the only thing. That will take you So far, not your talk.
"Going out and acting is a great motivating factor for me."
While MacDonald sits at the Hulu Theater and watches the action on Tuesday night, he wants to help the growth of the PFL and be one of its main focal points for 2020, and beyond.
"I want to be part of this brand as they grow and a force in the world of MMA," he said, "and I want people to know that I am here and one of the best welterweight in the world."