MacDonald: Claims Leg Injury Was Worst Pain In Career
Even though Rory MacDonald walked out of Bellator 192 as the welterweight champion, he considered giving up on Saturday night against Douglas Lima.
The idea of handing the fight to Lima during the co-main event of the evening was due to massive hematoma developing on MacDonald’s leg, due to vicious leg kicks from the now former champion. Even though his shin grew almost twice its size, MacDonald persisted toward a unanimous decision victory to dethrone Lima as the welterweight tittle holder.
In an interview on Monday’s The MMA Hour, the idea of quitting passed through MacDonald’s head “a few times.”
“It went through my head. But I just kept pushing through it. I had to dig deep a few times and just break down some mental barriers and keep pushing.
“Any fight that I’ve had to endure a lot of punishment and keep going forward, yeah. Your mind always plays tricks on you and wants you to give in and it’s just being disciplined and being able to push through those doubts and anxieties.”
Following being carried from the cage to his dressing room, MacDonald said he’s still in a lot of pain.. The swelling is such an issue for MacDonald, that as of Monday he was unable to fly home to Canada from Los Angeles yet due to the bad swelling. MacDonald said it’s only a hematoma and there are no structural issues,but was worse than the damage he absorbed in wars against the likes of Robbie Lawler.
“Hard to compare,” MacDonald said. “A physical pain, I’d say this one was the worst, for sure. I would say this one was the worst as far as pain goes.”
“I was definitely emotional,” MacDonald said.
“Especially going through a fight like that for the belt. It was a special moment for me, because I got to push those mental barriers to get to this championship. It was a nice feeling. It was a hard fight, it was a close one. It was something I really appreciated and I’ll always remember.”
The devastating kicks from Lima changed the way MacDonald had to approach the fight, which is why afterward he said Lima was his toughest opponent.
“I think he just came in the most prepared, for one,” MacDonald said. “I could just tell by little things he was doing. He was keying to a lot of things I like to do. So, he gave me a lot of problems for that. I could tell he knew how to stop some of my attacks that I wanted to use. Another reason is he’s just powerful everywhere. Whenever he hit me, I felt his power. So that was another issue that disrupted some of my game.”
MacDonald said he had to battle his own head at times, along with Lima.
“Your mind is going a thousand miles an hour,” MacDonald said. “The thoughts come into your head about giving up and if it’s worth it. They all race through your head. And you think while you’re doing it. All those thoughts in milliseconds. A couple moments when I was really struggling, I just found myself silently in my head praying to God to give me the strength to push through these barriers. I was able to do it because of that I think.”
MacDonald said he expects to be back in action sometime around June. He does not expect any permanent issues due to the leg injury. MacDonald said he is hoping his first title defense can come in his native Canada, but he also has plans to move up to middleweight and challenge for that title.
For now, though, he can heal his leg and celebrate his first major title victory. MacDonald, who owns a win over UFC champion Tyron Woodley, was asked by Helwani if he felt like he is now the best welterweight in the world.
“Yeah,” he said, “I do.”