UFC on FOX 8: Dana White Says Rory MacDonald Never Stated “He Won’t Fight GSP”, “Ares” Will “Assess” Options After Fighting Jake Ellenberger
By Kelsey Mowatt
Dana White doesn’t have to worry about whether Rory MacDonald will sign the dotted line to fight Tristar teammate Georges St. Pierre just yet, but if the rising welterweight defeats Jake Ellenberger at UFC on FOX 8, speculation will kick into high gear. MacDonald is set to fight Ellenberger at the July 27th card, in a bout that features the welterweight division’s #3 and #4 ranked fighters. The only contender that’s ranked higher is Johny Hendricks, who will battle St. Pierre on November 16th.
“This is a really great fight,” White said during a media call to promote the UFC on FOX 8 card. “I’m really excited about this fight. Both guys are explosive, dynamic, finishers and two of the top guys in that division.”
“So I don’t know,” White added, while discussing what might come next for the winner. “The guy who wins this fight is obviously right up there and close to a title shot.”
MacDonald (14-1) has won four consecutive bouts since he was stopped by Carlos Condit in June, 2010, and most recently, he scored a one sided, unanimous decision win over BJ Penn in December.
Ellenberger (29-6), meanwhile, worked his way to a decision win over Diego Sanchez and then knocked out Nate Marquardt in his last outing, after being stopped by Martin Kampmann last June.
“This would be a huge win for him (MacDonald), not to mention that Ellenberger’s last win was very impressive,” noted White. “So this is not only his biggest fight but his biggest test.”
Of course, it remains to be seen if the reign of St. Pierre will continue after he meet Hendricks at UFC 167, but if both GSP and MacDonald win, things could get interesting. In the past, MacDonald has carefully navigated around questions related to whether he would fight his teammate, by noting he hasn’t locked up a title shot yet. When asked during the call about possibly moving to middleweight rather than face St. Pierre, the 23 year-old stayed on point.
“I’m just going to focus on this fight for now,” said MacDonald. “My whole career I’ve just been kind of going with the flow. Everything changes after each fight, so I’ll see where I’m at after this fight and assess the options from there.”
Obviously, if Ellenberger takes out MacDonald, then booking a bout with GSP (if he remains champion) would appear to be easier. When White was asked if Ellenberger has more to gain from the upcoming bout then, since MacDonald may elect not to fight GSP, White stated:
“No. For Jake, a win over Rory is a big win. For Rory, a win over Jake is a big fight for him too. As you continue to fight the best in the world, you’re building your resume and you’re climbing the ladder and getting that experience. There’s a lot more that goes into fighting another guy who’s one of the best in the world.”
“And I don’t think Rory ever said he doesn’t want to fight GSP,” White added. “Rory said he doesn’t want to talk about fighting GSP. I don’t think he’s ever said he won’t fight GSP. When that day comes, when he gets to that place where it’s time for GSP vs. Rory MacDonald, I’m sure that’s when Rory MacDonald will want to talk about fighting GSP.”
UFC on FOX 8 will be hosted by the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington.