Canadian UFC welterweight star Rory MacDonald will return to action for the first time since December 2012 as he is set to meet Jake Ellenberger at UFC on FOX 8 in Seattle on July 27.
MacDonald was scheduled to fight Carlos Condit at UFC 158 in Montreal in March, but was forced to withdraw from the bout due to a neck injury he suffered in February. MacDonald told sportsnet.ca a couple days before the event that he reinjured his neck while working out and suffered a minor setback. Doctors have since examined his neck and given him the green light.
His matchup with Ellenberger – which was first reported by sportsnet.ca contributor E. Spencer Kyte – will mark the first time MacDonald has competed since a unanimous decision win over BJ Penn at UFC on FOX 5, which also took place in Seattle.
In fact, MacDonald has been injury-plagued of late, having only competed twice since August 2011. MacDonald’s fight with Penn was supposed to take place last September at UFC 152 in Toronto, but the 23-year-old Quesnel, B.C., native suffered a laceration above his eye in training and the fight was delayed.
Prior to pulling out of UFC 158 and the delay of his bout with Penn, MacDonald had been forced to withdraw from fights in the UFC on two other occasions – a UFC 123 bout against Matt Brown and a UFC 140 bout with Brian Ebersole.
MacDonald (14-1) has won his last four fights, while Ellenberger (29-6) has won eight of his last nine bouts and is coming off a knockout win over Nate Marquardt at UFC 158.
The winner of this tilt could potentially emerge as the next No. 1 contender in the UFC’s 170-pound division. MacDonald is currently ranked as the No. 3 welterweight challenger in the UFC’s official fighter rankings and Ellenberger sits at No. 4. Only Condit and top contender Johny Hendricks are ranked above them.
However, if MacDonald is victorious and is dubbed the No. 1 contender things could become complicated given the fact MacDonald, who lives in Montreal, has said on multiple occasions that he will never fight his Trystar Gym teammate Georges St-Pierre.
St-Pierre is the current UFC welterweight champion and is expected to defend his title against Hendricks later this year.
UFC on FOX 8 takes place at the Key Arena. The only other fight currently scheduled for that event is a lightweight bout between Melvin Guillard and The Ultimate Fighter 6 winner Mac Danzig.