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Which Rory MacDonald will show up at Bellator 232?

Once upon a time, the “Red King” nickname struck fear into the hearts of all fighters. It also excited fans to tune in to see what the man behind the name would do. Now, all eyes are once again on Rory MacDonald, but for another reason.

At Bellator 232, fans will be watching to see what kind of fighter will appear in front of them.

The current Bellator Welterweight Champion, MacDonald (21-5-1) is set to defend his title in the finals against a man he is very familiar with. Douglas Lima defended and lost the title to MacDonald back at Bellator 192. Now the two face off in the finals of the Welterweight Grand Prix. It is strange to think the fight didn’t almost happen.

Back at Bellator 220 in the Grand Prix quarterfinals, MacDonald fought Jon Fitch to a draw. After the bout, MacDonald was brutally honest and said he didn’t have the killer instinct in the fight he used to have. He also said he’s not sure if he has the same drive to hurt people anymore. Rory ended up fighting once again, beating Neiman Gracie via unanimous decision at Bellator 222 to advance towards the finals.

Rory has gone through a number of transformations in his career. As the true “Red King”, Rory has been seen as an unstoppable killing machine. He’s been stoic, emotional and driven throughout his career. He is still the latter now that he has a whole new meaning on life as a religious man, but just as he said against Fitch, he doesn’t have that killer instinct. Or so he says.

“At first I was like ‘Ah, why did I say that publicly?’” MacDonald stated to Sporting News. “But now coming full circle, it’s going to be a blessing because it’s going to be more in the public to witness the transformation that God could do and how he cares about what you worry about and how he could address those things if you press into them. So, it’s for the better.”

The last time MacDonald and Lima (31-7) fought, Rory controlled the ground game and brought it to the two-time Welterweight Champion. Can he bring the same aggressiveness in the rematch? Lima believes no matter the circumstances that is entirely possible.

“I expect the best out of MacDonald,” Lima stated to Double G Sports during Bellator media day. “He went through those changes, which at first may have seemed bad, but I think that’s great for him. I’m a Christian man myself, I’ve been through stuff like that before. It just does so much good for you. If his heart is in the right place and he wants to continue, let’s do it. I’ve trained for the best Rory ever. I’m ready for whatever he brings.”

Is there such a thing anymore as the best Rory ever? With $1 million on the line and the chance at retaining his title, the “Red King” may be full of surprises. Whatever part of his life he is in now, there is no doubt there is some sort of fire in him still burning bright. If even a glimpse of his competitive nature is active tonight, it should help dismiss doubters and result in quite the night for MacDonald.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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