LAS VEGAS -- Many are already calling Robbie Lawler's sublime rematch against Rory MacDonald on Saturday night one of the greatest fights in the history of the welterweight division, and UFC President Dana White echoed those cries at UFC 189's post-fight press conference.
"If you look at Rory MacDonald, his nose was broken in that first round," White said. "He couldn't breathe, couldn't see, continued to fight, and it's looking like a one-sided clinic. Then he hurts Robbie Lawler, then he follows up with like 10 head kicks and doesn't finish Lawler. Lawler hangs in there and makes it through that.
"Robbie Lawler's lip, if you could've been in the Octagon and saw this lip, he would talk and this part of the lip would move and the other part wouldn't. [Rory MacDonald's] nose was broken. They asked him, when Rory got out back, they said, ‘what year is it?' He didn't know what year it was. First of all, it was a war. And a complete display of chin, heart, grit, dogged determination, and the will to win from both guys. When you talk about (the best) fights ever, that's what I'm talking about."
In an unbelievable spectacle, Lawler and MacDonald spent the better part of five rounds painting the Octagon crimson with each other's blood before Lawler completed an awe-inspiring comeback and delivered a crippling blow to the young Canadian, seizing the TKO win to defend his UFC welterweight title. MacDonald was ahead on all three of the judges' scorecards by 39-37 scores at the time of the finish.
"That Robbie and Rory fight was absolutely phenomenal," UFC 189 headliner Conor McGregor said. "I must pay my respect to that. Two absolute warriors took every shot and still came forward. This is what this sport is about. What a night of fighting."
Heading into Saturday night, Johny Hendricks was believed the be the next man in line to fight for the welterweight title. But after witnessing Lawler and MacDonald's all-time classic bout, White was non-committal about where division's pecking order stood.
"Guys who know the fight business and have been around a long time, a fight like tonight can change you," White said. "We'll see what Rory's got when he comes back, but right now he's the second baddest dude in the world in the 170-pound division."
MMA Video: UFC 189 was one of the most memorable nights in UFC history