How Joe Rogan Put Rory MacDonald In A No-Win SituationAuthor : Brad Taschuk
Coming out of UFC 133, one of the most talked about fights has been Rory MacDonald's impressive defeat of Mike Pyle. While the young Canuck certainly cemented his status as one of the top prospects in the MMA world, the performance has resulted in a great deal of hyperbole surrounding MacDonald's future. The most notable culprit has to be UFC colour commentator Joe Rogan, who absurdly claimed that MacDonald has more potential than a certain French-Canadian who had already earned two title shots and beaten three different top 10 opponents by the time he was 12-1 in his career (as "Ares" currently stands). I understand that many in the MMA community are instinctive and overly reactive, but at some point influential figures in MMA do need to draw a line. I feel like Rogan made a huge misstep in proclaiming MacDonald the heir apparent to one of the top fighters in the sport today after a few solid performances, and in a moment of excitement has set undue expectations on a young, developing fighter.
This is not to say that MacDonald doesn't possess a bright future in MMA, as he certainly does, but St. Pierre is on track to have one of the most storied careers in the sport's history (if you think he doesn't already fit into that category), and at this point I simply don't see the same potential in MacDonald. Remember, looking at their careers side-by-side, St. Pierre is coming off of a victory over BJ Penn which capped one of the most dominant runs to a title shot we had seen in the UFC to this day (also included were beyond one-sided fights againt Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg and Jason Miller). I'm not sure if Rogan had thought about any of this prior to opening his mouth on Saturday night, but I'm guessing, as it often does, he simply allowed his emotions to take over in the heat of the moment. Furthermore, if any performance of Rory's should have caused people to fly off the handle about his potential, it should have been his bout with Carlos Condit - in which he out-dueled a top 10 opponent for two rounds before being overwhelmed in the third - not a win over a fighter like Mike Pyle, who while solid has never come close to cracking the upper echelon of his division.
Obviously one thing people look at when assessing MacDonald's potential is his age. While he is significantly younger than GSP at this stage in his career (22 as opposed to 25), we have seen so many times that prospects in MMA don't follow a linear rate of progression (Chris Horodecki, anyone?). Rory still has room to grow in his career, but to act as if he is going to improve as much in the next five years as he has in the past five is simply unrealistic. We've learned this lesson before with young fighters (not to mention young-to-MMA fighters like Brock Lesnar), and we'll learn it again, but in the meantime it's unfair to put a fighter like MacDonald in the no-win position of claiming he has more potential than one of the most decorated fighters in MMA today.