Learning so much from the biggest loss of his career has made Bellator 232’s Douglas Lima thankful for losing his first fight against Rory MacDonald.
When Douglas Lima faces Rory MacDonald in the finale of the welterweight grand prix at Bellator 232, it will have been 393 days since the former champ first entered the tournament. Over a year, two wins — against rival Andrey Koreshkov and striking ace Michael ‘Venom’ Page — and a whole lot of waiting.
Originally, Lima wanted to go a different route. “I was definitely waiting for the immediate rematch,” he told Cageside Press ahead of the fight. “That’s what I wanted. Actually I wanted that fight to be the first one of the tournament.”
Instead, Lima and MacDonald found themselves on opposite sides of the bracket. They’d both work their way through stiff competition, and now meet each other for the second time in the finale. “Everything worked out pretty good. We’re fighting again here in the finals, which makes the fight even bigger. Everything works out for a reason,” allowed Lima. “I think this is a good one for sure.”
The upside is, after going through the grand prix, there will be no question after as to who the best welterweight is. After what Lima called a “crazy tournament,” the winner “definitely will be the best Bellator fighter. Top three, five, one in the world for sure after this.”
The grand prix showdown is “a very important fight for the division, for myself, and to where we stand as far as welterweights in the world,” he added. “This is definitely a big one, that I’m taking very serious.”
Lima, without question, sounded ready to go even days out from the fight. There’s no surprise there. The former champ, who hopes to be crowned once again this Saturday night, has fought in several Bellator tournaments. But those early tournaments — Lima won the Bellator Season 5 and Season 8 tournaments, not to mention a grand prix outside the promotion early in his career — all played out at a much quicker pace.
He greatly preferred that. “The quicker pace for sure. You want to get it all over with,” he said about which format he favored. Though Lima also admitted that while “it’s good to stay busy like that,” it’s also “very tough.”
The flip side, though, is the situation he finds himself in now. “It’s been a whole year. A year and a month. I like to stay busy.”
From those early tournaments, Lima learned to train smart. “Not just for the tournament,” he added. “Of course avoid injuries, as much as you can even though sometimes it’s impossible. Just train smart, I think that’s the biggest thing.”
Another learning experience was the first fight with MacDonald, obviously. As the saying goes, you win or you learn. “I learned a lot from that fight. The heart that he brought to the fight, that was just so amazing to see,” said Lima. “Because how badly he was injured, and he still came back, got the takedown the last round, that was the key to the fight.”
“You always learn so much more when you lose,” agreed Lima. And when it comes to losing, well, “I lost so much in that fight. I lost my title, it was the biggest fight of my life, and I lost it.” The losses came with a silver lining, however. “There’s something to take away from it. The experience I took away from that fight was amazing,” he added.
Believe it or not, Lima went so far as to say that “right now, I’m thankful that I lost that fight. Because it made me learn so much more than if I’d have KO’d him in the first round.”
And there you have it. Douglas Lima is a true student of the game. And that attitude is exactly what a mixed martial artist needs.
A healthy dose of respect for an opponent helps as well, as Lima possesses that also. While many have criticized Rory MacDonald over the past year, Douglas Lima is not one of them. “I don’t think he changed the way he fights. Some people say that he doesn’t have that fire in him anymore, but I believe he still does. I’m expecting the best out of him in this fight.”
“I think he was going through some changes, in his personal life and all of that,” Lima said. But after seeing glimpses of MacDonald training for their rematch, “he looks focused, he looks ready, and I’m expecting the best out of him.”
“For me, of course, I’m a different fighter myself,” he continued. “I learned a lot in my loss against him. Showed that against Koreshkov, against MVP. Finishing both of those guys, that says something right there.” It says a lot, frankly.
A win against MacDonald Saturday at Bellator 232 would see Lima win the welterweight title back. As well as pocket him a million dollars, and give him bragging rights as tournament champ. It would also draw the pair event at one fight apiece. A trilogy would seem inevitable at that point.
“I see it. I think it’s going to be just like Koreshkov,” Lima predicted, referencing another rival he’s fought three times so far. “I see it, I believe it’ll happen in the future after I beat him this time around.” Although should he win against MacDonald, he doesn’t foresee running it back immediately. “There is some time for that, for sure. I don’t think he’ll get a rematch right away.”
Lima, however, doesn’t want to look too far ahead. While he’s open to fights at middleweight and in RIZIN, with whom Bellator co-promotes at times, “I’ve got a tough test ahead of me,” Lima admitted. He’s motivated, however, to get that title back. “I want to get this belt back, that’s the first thing. I just want to be a champion here in Bellator. It doesn’t feel right being here without the belt.”
Watch Douglas Lima take on Rory MacDonald in the Welterweight Grand Prix finale at Bellator 232 this Saturday, October 26, 2019. The bout serves as the main event, airing live on DAZN.