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Rory MacDonald ‘convinced’ Robbie Lawler was on PEDs at UFC 189

UFC 189 photos
Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler faced off in an all-time classic at UFC 189.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

A little over two years ago, Rory MacDonald faced off against then-UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in a war for the ages at UFC 189. MacDonald ultimately fell just inches short, losing via fifth-round TKO after being up on the scorecards in a fight that many have called one of the greatest fights in MMA history.

MacDonald has since credited the contest for reshaping his career, and it’s visceral back-and-forth violence has earned Lawler vs. MacDonald 2 a place in rarified air within the sport. But the stark truth of the matter is that UFC 189 also took place at the very inception of the UFC’s USADA era, and on Thursday, MacDonald said in a Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ that he believes Lawler was using banned substances.

“I’m convinced he was,” MacDonald answered when asked if he thought Lawler was on performance enhancing drugs during the fight.

MacDonald didn’t elaborate further, but the comment wasn’t his only remark about PED use in the sport. MacDonald later said that it was “a true shame to see grown-ass men and women” using banned substances in the MMA, and when asked about Jon Jones’ potential USADA violation at UFC 214, MacDonald said that Jones was “shameful, like every other guy that does this crap and hides it, yet gloats during victory.”

MacDonald, 28, was one of Bellator’s prized free-agent signings in 2016.

The Canadian veteran is widely regarded as one of the best welterweights in the world today and owns a pair of victories over the last two men to fight for the UFC welterweight belt, having defeated reigning champion Tyron Woodley and UFC 214 title challenger Demian Maia. MacDonald’s victory over Woodley, in particular, was a one-sided affair in 2014, and on Thursday, MacDonald said that he “would submit or TKO” Woodley if the two ever met again.

“I think Tyron is a very strong competitor,” MacDonald wrote. “Very strategic, athletic, but I am aware of his weaknesses also.”

MacDonald is currently 1-0 under the Bellator umbrella, having finished Paul Daley with a second-round submission in May. While MacDonald does not yet have his next fight booked, he said that the likelihood of him facing Bellator’s biggest 2017 free-agent signing — former UFC middleweight contender Gegard Mousasi — was “high,” and that the fight could happen sooner rather than later, despite MacDonald usually competing in the 170-pound division.

“I believe if my next fight is for the title, I will beat (Bellator welterweight champion Douglas) Lima then fight the winner of Mousasi vs. (Bellator middleweight champion Rafael) Carvalho,” MacDonald wrote.

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