If it wasn't clear after his victory over Demian Maia earlier this year that Rory MacDonald is back, Saturday night made it clear that he's going to be a problem for anyone at or near the top of the welterweight division.
The Tri Star fighter set the tone early on in the bout, looking comfortable from the outset. He stalked forward while Woodley backpedaled, always keeping Woodley guessing, never sure whether MacDonald was going to flick a jab, or throw an axe kick, or fling a head kick, or any number of things.
This went on for the better part of two rounds, as he continued to hunt down Woodley. The American Top Team fighter simply kept his back to the cage and looked entirely unsure of himself.
In round three, Woodley (13-3) came out swinging and managed to pop MacDonald a couple times. But MacDonald quickly reestablished control, and the icing on the cake was a takedown of the former collegiate wrestler. MacDonald dominated the rest of the fight on the ground.
"It's amazing," MacDonald (17-2) said. "It went really, really well actually. Everything we worked on came out to fight. I respected Tyron a lot, you can't look past a guy like him. It was an honor to fight a guy like him. I was ready for anything, I was ready for this to go any which way."
"I think I'm ready," MacDonald said. "I know there's a big fight with Brown and Robbie and I know those guys have done really well. I respect UFC's division, but they should know that I'm ready."