One of the most memorable fights in UFC history will be headed into the promotion’s Hall of Fame later this summer.
At UFC 189 in 2015, then-welterweight champion Robbie Lawler defended his title against a game Rory MacDonald in a bloody, extremely memorable war that made an immediate impression on fight fans.
The lasting images of the fight included a staredown between rounds, a split lip suffered by Lawler, and the broken and battered nose of a bloodied MacDonald, who finally fell in the fifth and final round.
Promotion officials announced during Saturday’s UFC 287 broadcast that the fight will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame this summer, in the Fight Wing.
Oft forgotten is that the fight was actually the pair’s second meeting; Lawler also captured the first, in 2013. But the split decision in that non-title affair set the stage for a rematch with even bigger stakes.
MacDonald (23-10-1) would exit the UFC in 2016, signing on with Bellator MMA and later winning their welterweight championship. He’d jump to the PFL late in his career, making it to the 2021 welterweight final. After falling short in the semifinal round the following year, MacDonald announced his retirement.
Lawler (29-16, 1NC) continues to compete for the UFC, though he is admittedly in the twilight of his career. “Ruthless” last competed in July 2022, stopped by Bryan Barberena.
“The fight between Robbie Lawler and Rory McDonald at UFC 189 was one of the most exciting fights in UFC history,” UFC President Dana White said in a press release distributed shortly after Saturday’s announcement. “This was an absolute war and a complete display of heart, grit, determination, and the will to win from both athletes. This five-round classic will always be remembered as one of the best and I can’t wait to induct this fight into the UFC Hall of Fame this summer.”
Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald 2 earned the 2015 Fight of the Year honor. Now, it’s also a Hall of Fame performance, and will be inducted during the 2023 UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which will take place on Thursday, July 6, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.