rory macdonald, bellator 220

Firas Zahabi doesn’t believe pupil, Rory MacDonald is close to retirement

Rory MacDonald is looking to defend his welterweight title and win $1 million at Bellator 232 on Saturday. Should he get past Douglas Lima he will win the welterweight grand prix and the prize money that goes with it.

It would no doubt be a storybook ending for his MMA career, yet his coach, Firas Zahabi doesn’t suspect the Canadian will retire. Even though, after his Jon Fitch fight, he said he lost the killer instinct and can’t pull the trigger to hurt anyone anymore.

“Let’s say he won a million and retired, I feel like personally he’s going to come back even if he doesn’t need the money,” Zahabi, who runs Tristar Gym in Montreal, said to MMA Junkie. “That’s just where I feel he’s at. He’s going to miss fighting if he ever hangs it up. In my opinion he has a lot more fight left in him. Before the Neiman (Gracie) fight people were like, ‘Did he just retire?’ That’s not what he said.

“Fighters are emotional after a fight. Some of them do retire for real. It does happen, but it also swings the other way. You start feeling like you want to go back in. Georges (St-Pierre) at one point retired, he wasn’t sure and he came back to win the world title. I never count them out, personally I never count that out.”

Regardless, Firas Zahabi knows this fight is crucial for Rory MacDonald and it is also a very interesting fight.

“It’s an interesting fight because they already fought before and it was so close,” Zahabi said. “Before you fight a guy like Lima, you know what he does, but you don’t know the chemistry, how his chemistry is going to be with Rory. Now we saw what their chemistry is like. Styles is a major component of MMA, more than any other combat sport. Boxing, yes, styles matter, but it’s still boxing. There’s not as many possibilities for change, whereas MMA there’s so many things that could be different.

“There are more possibilities, so now that we know what their chemistry is like we’re going to explore the different possibilities. Because they know each other so well they’re going to go in there with a different strategy, at least we are. It’s going to be a competitive fight, but always a different fight.”

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Cole Shelton
Cole Shelton covers MMA for, MMANews, and while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime