Rory MacDonald announced he wanted a spot in Bellator’s heavyweight tournament shortly after the bracket was officially unveiled, and “The Red King” believes that Scott Coker is open to having him act as an alternate should one of the eight competitors have to withdraw from the contest.
Speaking on the latest edition of The MMA Hour, MacDonald told Ariel Helwani that his involvement would also depend on how he gets on when he fights Douglas Lima for the Bellator welterweight title on Jan. 20.
“Yeah, absolutely,” he replied when asked if his interest in the heavyweight tournament was genuine.
“I spoke to Scott Coker about it and he said that maybe they would use me as an alternate if someone gets injured, and also depending on how my fight goes with Lima, obviously. I like my chances if someone gets injured or pulls out for whatever reason.”
MacDonald thinks there is an old school vibe to stepping up in weight classes to face physically bigger opposition, which appeals to him.
“I’ve always wanted to do a tournament, and I think it would be interesting doing it, kind of like old school,” said MacDonald.
“I know I’d be undersized going in against these guys in a tournament, so it would kind of have an old school UFC vibe. That’s always something that would be interesting.
“I think it would be interesting (to fight heavier opposition). Fight fans would find it interesting to see the new school MMA with a touch of the old school – the whole no weight limit thing even though I would have to make the weight.”
MacDonald sees Ryan Bader and Matt Mitrione as the favorites to win the competition. He also highlighted why he believes light heavyweights won’t be at too much of a disadvantage against heavyweights.
“I find that even with the light heavyweights, when you’re that size and you’re that athletic, it doesn’t really matter. I know it’s a different sport, but we see in boxing, a lot of the dominant champs are actually undersized guys with more speed but equal power,” he said.
Finally, the Canadian welterweight contender underlined that he trusts Coker and believes that he will stick to his word and allow him to compete in the tournament should an opportunity arise:
“He seemed cool with it. He seemed surprised, but happily surprised. I don’t know, I think he’s a pretty straight shooter, so when he tells me something I have no reason not to believe him.”