For as much attention as Jose Aldo-Conor McGregor was receiving before Aldo pulled out, the fight that might just be one of the best of the year has always played second fiddle.
Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald is an incredible story with the welterweight title attached to it, and it goes down this weekend at UFC 189.
Back in 2013, Lawler made his return to the UFC after a nine-year absence. He was coming off impressive finishes vs. Bobby Voelker and Josh Koscheck, but most felt his next opponent was too talented and too primed to be knocked off.
That was MacDonald, as the youngster was looking to move his way a little closer to competing for the title himself.
Instead, “Ruthless” pulled out the split decision and went on to face Johny Hendricks a few months later for the vacant title. Lawler dropped that contest, but rebounded with wins over Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown to earn a rematch with Hendricks.
He was triumphant in that second encounter with “Bigg Rigg,” and will try to make it 2-0 vs. MacDonald this weekend.
After the loss to Lawler, the 25-year-old Canadian wasted no time getting back into the Octagon. He returned three months later and topped Demian Maia, adding wins over Tyron Woodley and former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine to his resume in 2014.
Now, MacDonald wants to become the champion his teammate and friend Georges St-Pierre was before leaving the sport.
If Lawler-MacDonald isn’t enough to get you hyped for Saturday, McGregor vs. Chad Mendes, Dennis Bermudez vs. Jeremy Stephens, Gunnar Nelson vs. Brandon Thatch and Brad Pickett vs. Thomas Almeida should do the trick.
In all honesty, the UFC has done a heck of a job putting top fights together for this event – even with the loss of Aldo-McGregor. And as always, FightLine will have complete coverage of all the action.