UFC 189 is one of the most highly anticipated events the UFC will put on this year thanks to the rise of Conor McGregor.
McGregor's ascent in the featherweight division has captured fans' attention, and the UFC recognized his star power and capitalized on it. The UFC recently embarked on a worldwide press tour that ended in Dublin, Ireland, where McGregor snatched Jose Aldo's championship belt.
Lost in all the excitement and coverage was the welterweight championship co-main event between Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald.
It isn't strange that the boisterous McGregor is stealing the limelight for UFC 189, but it is strange that Lawler vs. MacDonald is being all but forgotten about.
Lawler has been one of the best stories in MMA since his return to the UFC and the welterweight division. The longtime vet finally achieved his potential. His 2014 was capped off by defeating Johny Hendricks in a rematch and claiming the championship. He won Fighter of the Year honors across major media outlets and the Fighters Only MMA Awards.
Lawler and MacDonald first met at UFC 167 in a title eliminator. Lawler got the win by split decision and went on to face Hendricks for the title, a fight he would narrowly lose by unanimous decision.
The rematch pits them against each other again in a high-level bout. Lawler is a fighter who will ensure an exciting fight. MacDonald's calculated approach provides a good foil for Lawler. The first fight delivered, and the second fight will be scheduled for an additional two rounds. Fans and media should be paying more attention to this contest.
It is rare that the UFC does not arrange title fights in order of weight class, but McGregor and Aldo's fight is the fight most people are looking forward to, even more than the upcoming Jon Jones-Anthony Johnson title tilt. It deserves top billing. But Lawler-MacDonald deserves some attention as well.
This is MacDonald's first title fight, and it is long overdue.
MacDonald has never gone past the third round in the UFC, but this will be his second scheduled five-round affair. Lawler has proved he can keep up pressure in the championship rounds to win fights. It makes the matchup all the more enticing after the way their previous encounter played out.
This is a fight that could headline a card of its own and handle the press that comes along with it. But that's not the case.
Perhaps the lack of media attention will give us a better fight. Lawler and MacDonald are both low-key individuals, and they have more time to devote to training instead of appeasing the media. Regardless, they deserve more love than they've been getting recently.
When the co-main event of UFC 189 rolls around, do not be surprised if it is the Fight of the Night. It could easily supersede the fight getting all of the attention. Lawler and MacDonald are poised to put on a stellar showcase for the welterweight gold.
Do not overlook the title tilt at 170 pounds.