Latest win might have put Canadian further away from a main event slot.
After earning his 15th win from just 16 fights, most would expect Rory MacDonald to be in line to fight the winner of the Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks bout at UFC 167.
But after just doing enough to earn a unanimous decision win over a hesitant Jake Ellenberger at UFC on FOX 8, he might have done his title chances in the short-term more harm than good.
Before his latest win, UFC president Dana White said MacDonald, who has long been earmarked as a champion of generation-next in the promotion, was moving closer to earning a shot at the gold.
“I don’t want to keep going against what the kid says publicly,” White said.
“I’m not going to say what he and i want privately.but are you telling me that he doesn’t want a shot at the title of course he does.
“He is in (Georges St-Pierre) GSP’s house, he trains in his house, he’s not going to beat his chest and say he wants a shot at GSP.”
“The kid is not here working his way up the ladder to not get a shot at the title, it’s ridiculous.
“But he’s not going to scream from the rooftops when he’s trains in GSP’s house, lives in Montreal, the list goes on and on.”
However, after MacDonald jabbed and front-kicked his way to a one-sided but dull victory over Ellenberger at Seattle’s Key Arena, White had changed his tune.
Hyped as the fight on the free-to-air card with the most sub-text to it, with both combatants trading several barbs via social media before they met in person, the bout failed to deliver.
So much so both MacDonald and Ellenberger were signaled out by a furious White at the post-fight press conference.
“You don’t want to put on a bunch of performances like that,” White said.
“It’s not good for anybody. It’s not good for him; it’s not good for us; it’s not good for the sport.”
Despite his lacklustre effort, MacDonald, who was showered with boos by the crowd last weekend, could be in line for a shot if Hendricks is able to unseat the lone-time champion in the division.
The other alternative sees St-Pierre maintain his reign, MacDonald may want to change his mind about if his friendship with GSP is worth playing second fiddle to the number two pound-for-pound star in the promotion for the foreseeable future.
It would not be the first time a friendship has been put on the shelf in the pursuit of gold, with Rashad Evans taking on former training partner Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title at UFC 145.