Rory MacDonald felt he was up on the scorecards against Douglas Lima at Bellator 232. By the time he realized he wasn’t, it was too late.
Uncasville, CT —Rory MacDonald did not realize he was down on the scorecards until it was too late. That seemed to be the takeaway after Bellator 232 on Saturday, when MacDonald lost the welterweight title, and the welterweight grand prix, to Douglas Lima.
MacDonald’s approach was conservative, and even he would admit that. But speaking to reporters including Cageside Press post-fight, he insisted that he had good moments. “It was close every single round,” he said. “What I feel I should have done is put the gas on a little more. I backed off, I let him recover. I just gave too much leeway. Instead of having that gas pedal on a little earlier, I felt comfortable with where I was in the fight. I felt confident, maybe more confident than I should have been in the scoring. The rounds just got away from me.”
“Every round was tight though. I’m not too down about it,” MacDonald continued. “Just obviously wish I could have done a little more throughout the fight.”
In the mind of the ‘Red King,’ “I thought I was up 2-1 by the third. Fourth I thought I was up. I really thought I was doing well.” MacDonald, however, admitted that Lima landed “great shots too. It’s not like I thought ‘for sure I won that round!'”
Rory MacDonald remains confident, despite the loss, that he can hang with the top dogs. And he rebuked criticism from fans that finding Jesus has made him lose his killer instinct. “I think they have a bad perspective on it. I feel like Jesus has made my life rich, and changed my life around completely, from a dark place, to a place of joy and peace. Now I have purpose and fulfillment in my heart.”
“Most times after a loss, I probably wouldn’t be talking with you. But I’m blessed, and I know God has good things in store for me,” he continued. “Losing one fight doesn’t change my faith or my perspective on God. I know he has good plans for me.”
MacDonald also discounted the idea that years of tough fights have taken their toll. Instead, he said, he had a game plan he felt would work. “I don’t feel like I’ve taken so much damage, or I’m unhealthy. I’m 30 years old, and I’m healthier than ever. I don’t agree with those statements of being beat up, or anything like that. I feel great.”
With their career series now split at one fight each, a rubber match between MacDonald and Lima looms. “It’s very likely. We had two close fights,” said MacDonald. “He won one, I won one. It’s kind of inevitable that we’ll probably fight again.”
And while nothing about Saturday’s performance screams immediate rematch, MacDonald “wouldn’t say no” to the idea. “If they want to do it, they can do it,” he said. Only one problem: MacDonald’s Bellator deal has run out. “First I’ve got to re-sign. My contract expired, so we’ve got to deal with that situation. But obviously if they want to give me a title shot, sure.”
If not Lima right away, then another fight appeals to MacDonald: a rematch with Jon Fitch. MacDonald fought to a draw with Fitch earlier in the grand prix. “I didn’t agree with that draw, and I’d like to put a stamp on that,” he said.
Watch the full Bellator 232 post-fight press scrum with Rory MacDonald above!