Rory MacDonald Targets Late 2019 for Douglas Lima Rematch in Welterweight Tournament

By Tristen Critchfield Jun 16, 2019

Back-to-back five round fights within a two-month span have taken their toll on Rory MacDonald, and now Bellator’s reigning welterweight champ needs some time to rest and recover.

MacDonald’s decision victory over Neiman Gracie in the Bellator 222 headliner punched his ticket to the finals of the promotion’s welterweight grand prix, where he will square off against Douglas Lima. While Bellator president initially floated a September date for that rematch, “The Red King” shot down that idea at Friday’s post-fight press conference.

“I have to take some time and heal some things up after back-to-back fights and training camps,” MacDonald said. “[September is] not realistic for me. I mean I wish I could make it come true. I had a feeling they would want that but it’s just not possible with what’s going on in my life right now. I need to take some time to heal from these fights, from these training camps, so I can be ready for a guy like Douglas.”

MacDonald claimed the welterweight throne with a hard-fought five-round verdict against Lima in their first meeting at Bellator 192. And prior to defeating Gracie, the Canadian battled Jon Fitch to a grueling majority draw in a grand prix quarterfinal bout (MacDonald advanced by virtue of being the reigning champion).

MacDonald said that November or December would be a more ideal timeframe for the matchup. “The Red King” wants to make sure he is adequately prepared for a foe as difficult as Lima.

“When you’re training every day, you kind of have to have the eye of the tiger. It’s like eat, sleep, you’ve got to be like chewing on steel kind of thing for six weeks,” MacDonald said. “It hardens your body, hardens your mind.

“Something about that just gets you in that mind frame of just being able to push through low points where if you were just kind of training so-so, in good shape, you might slack off a little bit.”

In addition to recovering from the lingering bumps and bruises that come with fighting in April and June, MacDonald is also expecting the birth of his second child soon. That makes September an unrealistic goal.

“Doing that while just having a new child I think would be a little much stress-wise and organization, and it’s just too quick,” MacDonald said. “It’s too much of a rebound for me to take on a competitor like Douglas.”

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