I think Rory MacDonald is a good fighter. I don’t think that Rory MacDonald is a great fighter. In MMA and sports in general, fans tend to fetishize over the idea of youth. When they see a fighter like Rory MacDonald, people think his growth will be endless. Unfortunately, we’ve seen many times that fighters sometimes have consistent problems that never improve over time.
Dan Lauzon showed us that just because you are young, doesn’t mean you have infinite potential. He made his UFC debut at age 18. Unfortunately he is no longer employed by the UFC. Melvin Guillard got into the UFC at such a young age that many thought he could develop into a dominant lightweight. However, he has yet to improve his submission defense. Guillard has also had the same problems with game-planning that he had early in his career.
MacDonald is very talented for his age, no doubt. However, if you want to succeed in the Welterweight division, you bettter be able to defend the takedown. Georges St. Pierre has dominated the division and Jon Fitch, Johny Hendricks, and Jake Ellenberger have been viewed as the top contenders in the division. Each of them are well-credentialed wrestlers. We’ve seen from Carlos Condit what can happen when a top-level striker meets a top-level wrestler. Condit was taken repeatedly by St. Pierre. MacDonald will have his chance to prove doubters wrong at UFC on FOX 8 on July 27 when he takes on Jake Ellenberger. He might even be able to beat Ellenberger but I don’t think he get stop takedowns from top-level fighters consistently enough to be a dominant champion.