Not only is Rory MacDonald in line for the winner of the Johny Hendricks-Robbie Lawler rematch, but he'll get his welterweight title shot on friendly turf.
UFC president Dana White told the Canadian Press on Wednesday that MacDonald (18-2) will, in fact, get the winner of the Hendricks-Lawler rematch at UFC 181. But he also added a wrinkle, saying that MacDonald, a native of British Columbia and resident of Montreal, will get the title shot somewhere in Canada.
"It's pretty impossible to deny Rory that, whoever comes out of that Hendricks-Lawler fight, he's the next guy in line," White told The Canadian Press.
The TriStar fighter is coming off a finish of tough and underrated former Strikeforce champ Tarec Saffiedine last weekend in Halifax, Nova Scotia. That was MacDonald's third straight win and eighth in his past nine. The only loss in that stretch was a split decision against Lawler at UFC 167.
MacDonald has proven himself a draw from coast to coast north of the 49th paralel. The win over Saffiedine was a sellout in Halifax. His previous bout, a win over Tyron Woodley in Vancouver, drew a crowd of about 15,000, most of whom were there for MacDonald's fight, even though it was the co-main event.
White, while not yet committing to a venue, plainly sees MacDonald's effect on the turnstiles.
"[The title fight] absolutely, positively, without a doubt, be in Canada," White told the CP. "He's next in line and that fight will be in Canada."