Rory MacDonald will have to wait until 2018 for his next fight, but the good news for the Canadian welterweight veteran is that he is scheduled to compete nice and early in the new year. Not to mention that the fight will be for the Bellator MMA 170-pound strap.
MacDonald told a fan on Twitter last month that he was ready to go to battle any time, but added that the promotion’s “scheduling strategy” made it unlikely that he would get out again before the close of 2017. Former Bellator lightweight kingpin Michael Chandler subsequently offered to be MacDonald’s huckleberry in November or December, but Bellator obviously had other things in mind for one of their biggest recent acquisitions.
On Wednesday, the LA Times revealed that MacDonald will challenge welterweight champ Douglas Lima on January 20th at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
“When I signed with Bellator, I made it clear I wanted to take over — multiple weight classes and multiple championships,” MacDonald told the Los Angeles media outlet. “Douglas Lima and his title are first on the list before I move onto the next.”
MacDonald signed with Bellator in August of last year after over six years and 13 fights with the promotion. During that time he went 9-4 against some of the best welterweights on the planet and contested an all-time classic with then UFC welterweight kingpin Robbie Lawler in July of 2015. MacDonald said that his decision to leave the promotion was based on “numbers and respect.”
In his Bellator debut back in May, MacDonald easily submitted Paul Daley inside two rounds to essentially guarantee himself a crack at the title.
Lima regained the Bellator welterweight title back in November of 2016, KO’ing the man who ended his first reign – Andrey Koreshkov – in the third round. He has since defended the belt once, outpointing another recent UFC departure Lorenz Larkin in June. The 29-year-old Brazilian is 29-6 overall and has finished 24 opponents inside the distance – 13 via KO/TKO and 11 via submission.