Rory MacDonald will likely continue on his path toward a welterweight title shot at UFC 167, a fight card headlined by his training partner and 170-pound champion Georges St-Pierre.
On Tuesday evening, MMAJunkie.com reported that MacDonald could meet fellow top-10 welterweight Robbie Lawler at the event scheduled for Nov. 16. With verbal agreements in place for the bout, contracts just need to be signed for the matchup to be made official.
Since losing to Carlos Condit in his second UFC bout, MacDonald has won five straight fights and is now considered one of the biggest title threats in the 170-pound class. After MacDonald's recent win over Jake Ellenberger, some thought that the Canadian could rematch Condit if "The Natural Born Killer" defeated Martin Kampmann at UFC Fight Night 27. A rematch was previously booked for UFC 158, but it fell through due to a MacDonald injury.
However, before Condit and Kampmann could step into the Octagon, UFC brass had already set their sights on pairing MacDonald with Lawler.
After winning only three of eight fights under the Strikeforce banner, Lawler has been rejuvenated by a return to MMA's premier organization. In his first two appearances since rejoining the UFC roster, Lawler has knocked out Josh Koscheck and Bobby Voelker.
Rarely in a boring contest, Lawler may have been pegged as MacDonald's opponent as a message to the 24-year-old Tristar Gym fighter. In his most recent outing, MacDonald played it safe with his jab for three rounds in a decision win over a stumped Ellenberger.
Even if that same approach works in this matchup, Lawler is going to do everything he can to pressure MacDonald.
Right now, St-Pierre's title defense against Johny Hendricks and the bout between MacDonald and Lawler are the only targeted bouts on the UFC 167 fight card. The event will be hosted by the Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena and serves as the UFC's 20th anniversary show.
Update: UFC Tonight has confirmed that this fight will take place at UFC 167.
Sean Smith is a Featured MMA Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow on Twitter @SeanSmithMMA.