The young Canadian fighter said he was surprised by what Lawler gave out in the early stages of their UFC 167 fight last November. Had MacDonald pulled the trigger, things might have ended up different for him.
“I think he had a good strategy going in, and I didn't expect him to fight the way he did at the very beginning, so I was a little bit confused,” MacDonald said on The Great Debate Podcast. “I think I was thinking too much and not pulling the trigger enough. I think those are some big issues.”
Add the fact that the fight took place in Las Vegas – a place where MacDonald said he has trouble focusing because he's one of few trying to cut weight when the vast majority are there to party – and it makes for an off night.
MacDonald said he prefers to fight in the “fun” atmosphere of Canada, but he'll have to wait until later this year for that chance. His next opportunity to fight will be in Vegas again, this time against Demian Maia at UFC 170 this Saturday.
While his last camp wasn't very good, MacDonald revealed this recent camp was much better and said he anticipates the results to show against Maia. Fighting someone he considers great is a pleasure for MacDonald, and he looks at Maia as a stepping stone towards getting back into title contention.
“I think he's a great fighter. He's one of the top guys in the welterweight division, and a win over him will put me right back at the top, hopefully for a title,” he said. “The door is open. The opportunity is right there; it's just about seizing it. I'm going to take the first step to that with trying to knock out Demian Maia.
“[This camp] was a much better experience. A huge difference. I'm real happy with this one. Hopefully on fight day it's all the same.”
Game plans are a large part of preparation for many fighters. Against Lawler, MacDonald was shocked by the way his opponent approached him, which shifted the game plan on short notice and forced him to overthink things. This time, with experience and the ability to know better, MacDonald is ready to just have some fun without the worry.
“I'm just going to be myself, man. I'm really not overthinking things too much,” he said. “At the end of the day, I'm a fighter and it's what I do … I'm not thinking about the past or anything. I train hard. I'm healthy. I'm happy to be fighting. That's all I'm worried about: just coming out and winning.”
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