Rory MacDonald got back in the win column at UFC 170 with a unanimous decision victory over Demian Maia. It reversed a loss in his previous outing to current title challenger Robbie Lawler.
It was a solid, retro performance from MacDonald. He survived an early onslaught from Maia on the ground to outstrike and sprawl his way to a clear-cut win.
MacDonald is surely one of the top welterweights the UFC has, and with Georges St. Pierre out of the way, he's a threat to the championship. Here are three fights MacDonald could take in his next outing.
I was to thank everybody for the support. I did my best at UFC 170 and I have to give props for Rory MacDonald... http://t.co/Id71PuRQ17— Demian Maia (@demianmaia) February 23, 2014
Jake Shields/Hector Lombard winner
UFC 171 is the sight of a pivotal bout between welterweight standouts Hector Lombard and Jake Shields. It represents a former Bellator champ and former Strikeforce champ, respectively, meeting in the cage to move closer to the title.
Shields also has a recent win over Maia, where he used his wrestling to beat the Brazilian. This was similar to MacDonald's win, even though the Canadian used his wrestling defensively to beat Maia.
Lombard is a threat on the feet with his immense power. That's what makes this matchup between Shields and Lombard intriguing.
Watching MacDonald against either man would be intriguing. It could also provide a top contender.
Dong Hyun Kim/John Hathaway winner
This weekend, two physical, large grinders will meet in China to be the outright dark horse at 170 pounds. Those two men are Dong Hyun Kim and John Hathaway.
Kim is a judo player with suffocating top control and a fancy resume to back it up. Hathaway is coming off a long layoff, but he's been nearly flawless in his outings with the UFC.
Both men would be tough matchups for MacDonald. Kim and Hathaway would both threaten with takedowns in a bout against the Canadian while having their striking tested.
This fight is a little less likely given the current rankings in the UFC, but Matt Brown's recent performances could warrant him a fight like this.
Brown has been one of the best comeback stories in MMA history, going from a guy on the chopping block to a potential contender. His striking has been on point, as have his takedowns when he needs them.
MacDonald would be the guy who either feeds the feel-good story or stops it in its tracks. Either way, Brown-MacDonald could be a good fight in the near future.