In what could of been an intriguing rematch between Rory MacDonald and UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit, the Canadian opted to face BJ Penn instead.
Condit served as a great test for the 22-year-old when they first met at UFC 115. MacDonald put up a competitive performance against Condit before he was stopped with only seven seconds remaining in the fight.
The loss has certainly served as a turning point in the Canadian's career, as he has rounded off four consecutive victories inside the Octagon since then.
So it made perfect sense when MacDonald didn't hesitate to answer when he was asked about who he wanted to face next.
"Carlos Condit," MacDonald told MMAJunkie Radio. "He's got a fight coming up, so I have to work my way up to that level (with someone else)."
And he didn't pick a bad replacement in Penn, whom the UFC encouraged MacDonald to call out.
The Hawaiian was enjoying his retirement prior to hearing his opponent's challenge, but once the message was sent loud and clear, Penn didn't want to waste the opportunity.
Plus, MacDonald's options were limited, after learning Martin Kampmann and Johny Hendricks were slated to meet at UFC 154, so he jumped at the chance to face the former UFC lightweight champion.
"It sparked my interest, so I figured, 'Why not?,'" he said.
Although still considered a prospect at 170 pounds, MacDonald is taking a huge step in becoming the next big name in the sport after accepting a bout with Penn. A possible win will put MacDonald among the elite competitors in the division and not too far away from a title shot.
MacDonald and Penn are set to meet in the co-main event at UFC 152, scheduled for September 22 in Toronto.
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