One of the goals welterweight champion Rory MacDonald had when he signed with Bellator in the summer of 2016 was to be able to bounce around different weight classes with the intent of becoming a champion in them.
MacDonald gets the chance to check that off his list.
Announced at a press conference on Tuesday morning, MacDonald will move up in weight and challenge middleweight titleholder Gegard Mousasi at an unnamed Bellator event on Sept. 29 from the SAP Center in San Jose, airing exclusively on DAZN. For MacDonald, this is everything he imagined when he agreed to join the Viacom-owned promotion.
“It’s a dream come true,” MacDonald told Sporting News. “I’m really happy. God answered my prayers and here we are. Also, the welterweight tournament was announced. I’m really excited for this year. There’s so many great opportunities coming. I’m really living the dream.”
After Mousasi called out MacDonald following his victory over Rafael Carvalho last month. While MacDonald wanted the fight, company president Scott Coker met the request with skepticism, and had other ideas in mind for the Canadian which didn’t include Mousasi at the time. Both fighters bombarded Coker on social media, while MacDonald took it to another level.
“I sent him some texts and tried to call him and saying, ‘This fight needs to happen. This is what’s going to make the most sense. The fans are going to be coming from every platform. You need to look at this fight.’
We have two guys who are arguably the best in the world regardless of the promotion. Let’s do this and make it happen and make some history, and I think he recognized that as well.”
MacDonald won the 170 pound title from Douglas Lima in Janaury. Some were surprised MacDonald wanted to face Mousasi next instead of making his first title defense. In the “Red King’s” mind, the reasoning made all the sense in the world.
“Not many people want to do champion vs. champion,” MacDonald said. “There’s been people saying they would do it and then back out. I’m just really happy that I am able to live out a dream and fight at a larger weight class and possibly become a multiple weight world champion. These are dreams of mine and I feel like I’m on the doorstep to history.”
Bellator also revealed that a welterweight tournament will begin on the Sept. 29 show. Coker didn’t reveal any of the participants in the tournament, but MacDonald confirmed to SN he will take part in it and will likely be his next fight after the Mousasi showdown. Once again, it is another thing the 28-year-old can cross off the bucket list.
“Once again, my prayers have been answered,” MacDonald said. “This is truly a blessing from god. These are things he knew that this all I’ve wanted since I entered the sport. I’m feeling so blessed that he put these things in front of me.”
In the nine-year history of Bellator, a fighter has never held two world championships at the same time. If MacDonald is able to emerge victorious over Mousasi, he wants the chance to make history and defend them both.
“I’ll just take how it is,” MacDonald said. “Whatever is the biggest opportunity I have, I’ll go with what the fans are eager to see and what the best choice is. Ideally, I would like to defend both titles.”
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. Subscribe to his You Tube channel here. You can email him at email@example.com and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.