...OH, ONE MORE THING - PLEASE BOOKMARK US & VISIT DAILY!
How should the UFC handle Michael McDonald and Rory MacDonald? At 21 and 22, respectively, they're nearing title contention already; how many fights should they take before then, and who would you like to see them take on in that stretch?
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Both Rory MacDonald and Michael McDonald have been quite impressive lately, even at their young age. The best thing the UFC can do for them is put then up against top competition, mostly former contenders, as to see where their progress is at. This would be a true test for both. Nothing less than former champions or contenders. Anything less would hurt both fighters. If people are looking at them as the future of MMA, then, they needed to be tested as such.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I would give each guy a minimum of two fights against top level competition. At their age, a few months of training will literally (Parks and Rec. reference for those who get it) turn them into vastly improved fighters. As for who they should fight, I would stick them in there with anyone and everyone. This is the best way to help them improve, you want them to fight a diverse group of opponents with different skill sets. You also want to see how they react to setbacks and opposition.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
I would be lying if I didn't say I'd love to see Miagi vs. Daniel-san in GSP VS Rory MacDonald, but thats about as likely to happen as Dana White praising M-1. Facing the winner of Koschek and Hendricks would be a nice fit, or even destroying Jon Fitch. As for Michael, that dude is downright scary. His hands are insanely powerful and could probably drop a heavyweight. He made Miguel Torres look like a chump in quick fashion. That being said I'd like to see him fight Scott Jorgenson or Brian Bowles to legitimize his contention even more, then move on to the winner of Faber and Cruz for a title shot.
MIKE BACIOR, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
One thing I don't agree with in MMA or boxing is the idea that fighters need to be protected as they come along. This is a SPORT. Fighters should fight who their resume and current streak matches them up with. If they lose, they lose, it's a sport. You don't go through the NFL playoffs then back out before the Super Bowl because you aren't ready. A tennis player doesn't get to a Wimbledon final as a wild card then drop out because facing Nadal is too risky. It's a sport, and everybody should be after the gold. Give them each contenders in their next fight.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
The UFC will handle these two the way they handle all of their fighters. They will make exciting fights and maximize profits while doing so. The whole Rashad Evans vs. Jon Jones "friends" storyline made for a fight they could sell. I can only imagine how they could turn the Rory MacDonald vs. GSP fight into something very personal and sell huge numbers of PPV's. I think both could be ready to challenge for a title after two more fights. I think Rory MacDonald's next fight should be against Jake Shields. This would be an exciting fight and it might end up as a co-main event or even headline a free television broadcast. If MacDonald can get by Shields, the UFC can legitimately give him a title shot.
I think Michael McDonald should get the loser of the Uriah Faber vs. Dominick Cruz fight in July. He is ready for a top five opponent and that fight makes sense to me.
ALVIN CARTER, MMATORCH SPECIALIST
Rory MacDonald seems like he is primetime. He even did well in his last loss to Carlos Condit. I think he has grown since them, and I think he is one fight away from being thrown to the wolves. Actually, I would love to see him fight a returning Diaz if that timed up correctly. Michael McDonald on the other hand should take his time. Look at a fight with Scott Jorgenson. He seems ready, but the logical jump in competition just seems so large.
GRIFFIN MARSH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I say feed em to the lions. Age shouldn't matter. If these fighters reach their primes in their early to mid twenties it would be a shame making them fight cupcakes just until they reach a 'certain age.' I'd put each against a top fighter in their next bout. If you're a top 10-12 fighter respectively, I would put both against the top of the division, respectively.
DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK CONTRIBUTOR
It all depends on how many challengers are ahead of them in their respective divisions. Rory MacDonald is in a division that's flush with talent and there is no need to rush him into title contention. GSP, Condit, Ellenberger, Kampmann, Hendricks and even Koscheck are all higher up the ladder right now. That's a stellar list even before considering Nick Diaz if his disciplinary and retirement issues are resolved. There is no need to rush him and I agree with Rich Hansen, that both BJ Penn or Diego Sanchez, would be a great next opponents. Another possibility is Jon Fitch. Who wouldn't want to see MacDonald punch the living daylights out of Mr Boring?
Michael McDonald however, resides in a division that doesn't have anywhere near that depth of talent. It would be a fair assessment to say that only Urijah Faber and Renan Barao are more deserving of a title fight right now. I am always loathe to see young inexperienced fighters thrust into contention before they are ready. But Jon Jones has consistently proved that age and experience mean nothing if your talented enough. Whilst McDonald isn't on a level of Jones yet, he's an extremely talented fighter who won't embarrass himself if given the opportunity to fight Dominick Cruz anytime soon. As much as I hate to agree with Rich Hansen more than once a month. I'd also love to see my fellow Englishman Brad Pickett fight McDonald next in a title eliminator.
JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Rory MacDonald was seven seconds away from earning a win over UFC Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit and since then the level of competition he's faced has been on a steady decline. I refuse to sit through another fight where Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg go on about MacDonald being some kind of guaranteed Hall of Fame caliber athlete when he's pummeling an overmatched fighter fresh off his UFC debut.
If we're going to listen to that kind of stuff and then listen to MacDonald himself is going to talk about winning championships and moving up in weight, we need to at least see him against top 15 caliber competition from here on out.
The way that the UFC has matched him up, he's been able to just turn to his wrestling whenever he's been in any trouble. The welterweight division is replete with top notch wrestlers, so his next fight should be against one of them. I don't even care who it is, just not Che Mills.
As for Michael McDonald, Miguel Torres may have seen better days but there aren't too many levels above him at 135 right now. McDonald is definitely behind Renan Barao right now, but he's in the mix for a title shot without question. Again, it doesn't really matter who he fights, UFC just needs to get him in the cage with a warm body.
DON'T GO YET... WE SUGGEST THESE MMATORCH ARTICLES, TOO!
Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
STAFF COLUMNISTS: Shawn Ennis - Jason Amadi
Frank Hyden - Rich Hansen
Chris Park - Matt Pelkey
Interested in joining MMATorch's writing team? Send idea for a theme to your column (for Specialist section) or area of interest (i.e. TV Reporter) along with a sample of writing to email@example.com.