Why wait, 185-pound champion Rafael Carvalho asks?
Carvalho and MacDonald have already traded some words on social media, and the middleweight champion told MMA Fighting why he advises the Canadian to stay at 170 pounds.
"I own this division,” Carvalho told MMA Fighting. "For him to own the bus, he has to go through me, and that’s a difficult mission for him. He had a hard time fighting at welterweight in the other promotion, imagine trying to fight at middleweight? No, I don’t think he has a chance.
"He would have to adapt to the division. I’m used to fighting in this division. My weight, my reach… I have a few advantages.”
MacDonald impressed in his Bellator debut, submitting Paul Daley in the second round in London. Carvalho, on the other hand, recently improved to 5-0 in the promotion with a fourth-round knockout over Melvin Manhoef in Italy.
"I respect the athlete, he didn’t get where he is now for nothing,” Carvalho said of MacDonald, "but I don’t see any big deal in his game. He doesn’t move that much, getting punched a lot. I don’t see many things he can surprise me with. I have some weapons here. I’m a bad match-up, I would complicate things for him.”
Injury-free and anxious to get back in action, Carvalho hopes to defend his Bellator title again around July or August.
"Or let me go fight outside,” Carvalho said. "I got some offers to fight for other promotions, Brave (MMA) and WGP (kickboxing), but Bellator is my priority. I’m waiting. Book a fight for me in August or at least let me fight somewhere else. It wouldn't be a problem for me and for them.”
According to the middleweight champion, there’s a clause in his contract that says he can compete for other promotions if Bellator gives him the green light — two months before his rematch with Manhoef, Carvalho fought to a draw in a grappling match in Brazil.
"I asked my lawyer to email (Bellator officials) the information so they can get me a fight in August,” he said. "If they confirm my next fight is in July or August, it eliminates the chance of fighting for other promotions."