Rory MacDonald is no longer content with just victory; his mission at UFC 158 is to physically and mentally harm Carlos Condit.
To emerge victorious in an MMA bout against a top opponent like Condit is a tall order for any fighter, but MacDonald has set the bar high for himself in this one, stating:
I just want to do what he did to me; I want to make him feel the embarrassment I felt in front of his family the same way I felt. I want to hurt him the way he hurt me and I don’t want him ever to forget the time that we’re going to be in there for those 15 minutes. I want him to think about that for the rest of his life.
That's a little dark, no?
MacDonald is slowly but surely honing his pre-fight trash-talk tactics into an eerily psychotic package, and there is no doubt that such words could affect an opponent's psyche.
Condit, though, is as unflappable as anybody inside the Octagon, and I doubt he will take MacDonald's words to heart.
The Tristar standout MacDonald also notes an evolution in his game in the interview, as he says:
I think I’ve improved everywhere, I mean I’ve trained a lot of everything, but I think if I have to pick one thing that’s improved the most it’s probably my wrestling. My overall MMA game has changed so much and I’ve added so many different techniques that from where I was when I fought him the first time. I’m just a whole other fighter; I don’t fight anything like I did when we first fought.
Are these changes enough?
For me, this fight is incredibly hard to pick. On one hand, I see MacDonald taking Condit down and controlling him in a display of grappling dominance, but I also find it difficult to discredit Condit's skills both standing and off his back, should he end up there.
Who takes the rematch?
Condit's striking game and killer instinct is a thing of macabre beauty, while MacDonald's ever-evolving standup and overbearing grappling skills provide a stern test for any fighter, veterans like Condit included.
While I can certainly see a case made for either welterweight in this one, if MacDonald ties me to a chair and forces me to pick someone while whispering psychotically charged nothings in my ear, I'm going with "Ares."
His wrestling and athleticism will be too much for Condit to overcome, and he will have his revenge and peace of mind at UFC 158.