Rory MacDonald worked his way into the title talk by winning five straight.
However, a decision loss to Robbie Lawler left many questioning his standing in the UFC’s welterweight division.
MacDonald put to rest the doubters, surviving four minutes on the ground with Brazilian jiu-jitsu standout Demian Maia and scoring a decision victory at UFC 170 Saturday night.
After Maia, a five-time BJJ world champion, took the Canadian to the ground, he was forced to fight off numerous submission attempts. After that, MacDonald (16-2) defended over 15 more takedowns and dominated the striking game.
“Stay calm,” said MacDonald, of what was going through his mind when Maia took him down. “It knew if I overreacted, stressed out against a guy of his caliber, it wouldn’t take too long for him to put me away.”
Now that Georges St-Pierre is no longer the UFC welterweight champion, MacDonald wants to compete for the belt. Lawler will face Johny Hendricks next month to crown a new champion in the division.
“The animal is back,” he said. “I am ready to kick some ass, ready to kill (and) am ready for that title.”