Rory MacDonald knows he's the next contender for the UFC Welterweight but the main question is how long can he wait?
"I really don't see anyone else," is what MacDonald said to reporters following his round three TKO of Tarec Saffiedine at UFC Fight Night 54 and at the moment he isn't wrong.
However, with the title not defended until the end of December, it could be six months at best before he gets his shot - and that's still a lengthy lay-off for the Canadian.
Can anyone challenge his spot?
When you look at the credentials of the people around him, it does seem as if MacDonald is the undisputed next challenger for the title after Lawler.
The only other potential challenger was Gunnar Nelson, and the Icelandic fighter was beaten by Rick Story via decision, ending his previously undefeated record.
Hector Lombard is busy, Carlos Condit (one of just two fighters with a win over MacDonald) is hurt, Tyron Woodley is rebuilding after a loss to Rory and Matt Brown is also trying to bounce back from a loss to Lawler.
So, all things considered the only potential foe out of that lot is Rick Story and he was supposed to the be lamb to the slaughter for Nelson.
Despite that upset, MacDonald is at a higher level of competition and has been for a while. The only thing that's stopped his progress has been that loss to Lawler and Hendricks' injuries.
Only a huge return could stop him
Feasibly, other than injury, only one man could potentially stop MacDonald's date with destiny and MacDonald wouldn't even be able to fight about it.
That man? Georges St-Pierre.
MacDonald's fellow Canadian has seemingly been getting warmer and warmer to the idea of a UFC return, especially as they up their drugs testing game, and a return would pencil him in line with the winner of Hendricks-Lawler.
St-Pierre went out on top and while he considers MacDonald an apprentice of sorts, his return and claim to the title would trump that of MacDonald's - no matter who wins at UFC 181.
Whether St-Pierre would do that to his countryman, or whether he'd return in a style similar to Anderson Silva is still unclear but for MacDonald, well it's title shot or bust.
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