Rory MacDonald won’t be taking a page from Georges St-Pierre’s book regarding moving up a weight class.
The Bellator welterweight champion told MMA Fighting in a recent interview that he did not think GSP went about his move up to middleweight to fight Michael Bisping correctly. MacDonald will be heading to middleweight to challenge Bellator champ Gegard Mousasi on Sept. 29 in San Jose, Calif.
“I disagreed with his approach to it from the very beginning,” MacDonald said. “I think he learned a lesson from it as well, so I think I have a good approach to it.”
St-Pierre, MacDonald’s longtime teammate, ended up beating Bisping at UFC 217 last November to win the UFC middleweight title after a four-year layoff. But admittedly, it came with a price. Bulking up so much so quickly potentially caused a digestive affliction St-Pierre is still currently dealing with: Ulcerative colitis.
MacDonald, 28, said he’s already doing things a bit differently, but the difference in his body will not be extreme.
“Not much,” MacDonald said. “I’ve been already doing something just by chance. I’ve been trying to get a little bigger and stronger. But nothing really. I’m trying to stay comfortable at my normal weight. Not really. I’m not trying to gorge myself and get too big. I want to be fast, agile and strong.”
MacDonald has the advantage of being a bigger welterweight — he stands at 6-feet tall. GSP is listed at 5-foot-10. Mousasi, though, is 6-foot-2, a former light heavyweight, and will likely have a pretty solid size advantage over MacDonald.
Not that MacDonald minds. This is the same guy who said he’d move up to light heavyweight and challenge Bellator champion Ryan Bader for that belt. “The Red King” signed with Bellator in part due to flexibility. He doesn’t mind migrating from division to division. Just because he won the Bellator welterweight title from Douglas Lima back in January does not mean MacDonald feels beholden to defending the title every single time out.
“I think fights that are interesting to the fans interest me,” MacDonald said. “That always means it’s the most significant fight at hand. That’s what it is.”
When he signed with Bellator, MacDonald said he still wanted to prove himself as one of the best fighters in the world. While the UFC has more elite fighters on the roster, MacDonald took a flier on the fact that he could pursue bigger fights — superfights — for Bellator and make himself stand out. This one against Mousasi is all part of the plan.
“When you take a pound-for-pound style fight in other weight classes or with guys who have proven themselves against a lot of guys, it opens eyes and gets people talking,” MacDonald said. “I’m excited. I’m not too worried about it, at the end of the day. I know he’s a big challenge.”
After Mousasi, win or lose, MacDonald will enter into Bellator’s new welterweight tournament. The prospects of that — Bellator has some real talent at 170 — are very enticing to the former UFC title challenger.
“Things are just coming one after another right now,” MacDonald said. “God has really blessed me with the things that I have aspired to do in my career. I’m very grateful for these things. … It’s gonna be a great year. I’m very happy.”