The UFC have informed Rory MacDonald that he will not be the next fighter to challenge for the UFC Welterweight Championship. Despite being promised the winner of UFC 181’s main event, it appears that MacDonald has been sidelined to allow for the completion of a Robbie Lawler/Johny Hendricks trilogy.
The Canadian’s cause is not helped by the fact that the two most recent scraps between Ruthless and Bigg Rigg have ended in tight decisions, with the most recent bout splitting the judge’s scorecards.
MacDonald was promised a shot at the Welterweight crown following victories over Tarec Saffiedine, Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia, but his loss to Robbie Lawler at UFC 167, which set up the original Hendricks/Lawler dustup, looks set to continue to hold him back in arguably the UFC’s most competitive division.
A completion of the trilogy is an exciting prospect for all MMA fans. Lawler-Hendricks I will be remembered as a war for the ages, whilst it’s rematch was almost as equally bruising as it set up a controversial split decision victory for the long time contender Lawler, who finally achieved the champion status he looked so clearly set for when he burst on to the scene over 10 years ago.
Due to the manner of his loss, it’s difficult to argue with the fact that Hendrick’s deserves another shot at the UFC crown. He was on the receiving end of what appeared to be a poor decision in his loss at long-time champion Georges St-Pierres’ last fight, and seemed to be punished in Las Vegas for his controlling style of wrestling.
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As for MacDonald, it appears he must go back to the drawing board. There are many worthy fighters in the welterweight division to keep him sharp until he eventually gets his shot, with Hector Lombard, Matt Brown and the soon to be returning Carlos Condit all possibilities (though Lombard and Brown currently have fights booked).
Ultimately, Lawler-Hendricks III looks set to be every bit as explosive as it’s predecessors. Lawler has always been known for his attacking style, and Hendricks will surely have learnt his lesson and will be looking to rebound from the conservative manner in which he was handed defeat.
When the dust settles we will know once and for all who is the champion. But with hungry young fighters like MacDonald straining on the leash, the welterweight division will be anything but settled.