Rory MacDonald knows one thing for certain – he’s done with MMA.
The former Bellator champion and long-time UFC welterweight contender hung up his gloves this past weekend, after competing under the PFL banner. MacDonald (23-10-1) was stopped in the first round of his welterweight contest against short-notice replacement Dilano Taylor at 2022 PFL 8. The bout was part of the promotion’s welterweight semifinals.
Not long after the defeat, MacDonald announced he was walking away from the sport. Although it was a decision that many didn’t see coming, given MacDonald never indicated he was close to retiring, the Canadian knew it was time, and he’s known for quite some time.
“It’s been on my mind for a while,” MacDonald said on The MMA Hour. “I feel like it’s been quite a few fights where I’ve actually questioned it, but just wasn’t ready (to retire).
“I felt like I could still have that resurgence in my career. I had a goal, and I was driven, and I know in the practice room I could do certain things, but I just wasn’t able to do it in the cage when it came time, when rubber meets the road. Unfortunately, there’s a difference from what you can do in the practice room and under those lights. I just don’t have that certain thing, that spirit, that heart to go out there and get it done anymore. And every fight for a while now, it’s been diminishing now. I see it more and more.
“This (PFL) season was kind of my last hurrah. I was all in. I was going to put everything I could possibly put into this, and if I was successful, I was just going to keep going with it and go towards my goals, but if I fall short that would be the end.”
MacDonald was playing it by ear going into the PFL semifinals, but deep down he knew retirement was looming. MacDonald lost that night in Cardiff, but even if victorious, the feeling he got in the cage confirmed he needed to walk away.
“In this last fight, even if I would’ve put up a better fight and lost or even if I had won, just the feeling that I had in that fight was confirmation to me that this isn’t for me anymore,” MacDonald said. “It’s not who I am anymore. So I have to listen to that.”
MacDonald revealed he’s been feeling uncomfortable in the cage for quite some time. It became evident that he had doubts about his fighting career after losing to Gegard Mousasi at Bellator 206 in 2018 – a fight where he was attempting to become a two-division champion in Bellator.
Although it’s been years since MacDonald has been grappling with retirement, the 33-year-old is happy he kept fighting, as he now has no doubts on his decision to end his illustrious fighting career.
“No, I think I needed to (keep fighting),” MacDonald said. “I needed to get it out of my system. Now, when I walked out of the cage, obviously I was disappointed getting knocked out, but I’m very much at peace with it.
“I know very much for certain that I don’t want to fight anymore. If I had hung it up before, I think I would’ve probably circled back to it, and it would’ve been more of a drawn-out process. I just had to finish whatever it was and get it out of my system.”