Rory MacDonald will finally get the chance to fight for UFC gold, as UFC president Dana White announced on Thursday the young Canadian is next in line for a title shot. White told media Thursday that MacDonald, who is coming off of a brutal knockout victory over Tarec Saffiedine and three-straight wins overall, will fight the winner of the UFC 181 main event between UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks and challenger Robbie Lawler next year in MacDonald’s native Canada, as the fight is set to take place at Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, likely sometime next spring. Although details are sparse at the moment, it will be the first UFC event in Montreal since UFC 158, when Georges St-Pierre defeated Nick Diaz via decision in the main event in what was the second-last fight of his career. MacDonald, the protegee of St-Pierre, trains at TriStar gym in Montreal and as he’s the best hope for Canada to win a UFC title anytime soon, it makes sense to put his title fight there, even if it does give the challenge home-field advantage. As far as the announcement that MacDonald will indeed receive the next title shot, this was a no brainer, as far as I’m concerned. Yes, there’s a good chance Lawler defeats Hendricks and some fans may want a trilogy fight, but in the event that does happen it makes more sense to wait until a later date to do that fight, as Hendricks’ last two bouts have come against Lawler and some fans might not want to see a trilogy so soon. But in the event that Hendricks win (and he is the favorite heading into the matchup), then it’s an absolute no-brainer for him to fight the next guy in line, and that’s of course MacDonald. As far as how MacDonald matches up against Lawler and Hendricks, I think both fights are very intriguing. As far as MacDonald vs. Lawler goes, we already saw these two fight last year, and Lawler won the fight via split decision. There’s no doubt he’s improved a ton since then, but at the same time I do believe Lawler is a bad matchup for MacDonald and I think that rematch would be very, very interesting. As for a MacDonald vs. Hendricks fight, call me crazy but I’m more confident MacDonald wins that fight than a Lawler rematch, just based on the way he matches up physically with the champ. But both of these fights are excellent regardless, and I’m looking forward to either one — the fans can’t lose either way, as far as I’m concerned. In the meantime, while MacDonald waits out his title shot we have the actual title fight on our hands between Hendricks and Lawler on December 6 in the main event of UFC 181. The current odds for the fight see Hendricks as a -220 favorite with the comeback on Lawler at +180, but expect those numbers to move significantly in the coming months.
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