UFC president Dana White has confirmed that the 25-year-old welterweight will fight the winner of the UFC 181 main event between 170-pound champion Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks and No. 1 contender (Ruthless) Robbie Lawler.
Hendricks and Lawler meet Dec. 6 in a Las Vegas rematch of their UFC 171 bout in March that decided the successor to Georges St-Pierre.
MacDonald, ranked No. 2 among welterweight contenders, has won three straight and eight of his last nine in the UFC.
"It's pretty impossible to deny Rory that, whoever comes out of that Hendricks-Lawler fight, he's the next guy in line," White told The Canadian Press on Wednesday.
MacDonald, a native of Kelowna, B.C., who fights out of Montreal, is bidding to join St-Pierre and Carlos (Ronin) Newton as the only Canadians to hold a UFC championship.
Featherweight Mark (The Machine) Hominick of Thamesford, Ont., and Montreal middleweight Patrick (The Predator) Cote lost title fights in the UFC. Alexis Davis failed in a bid for the women's bantamweight crown.
MacDonald (18-2) has already beaten No. 3 Tyron Woodley, No. 7 Demian Maia, No. 8 Jake Ellenberger and No. 9 Tarec Saffiedine.
"I have a lot of respect for Saffiedine," White said. "That's guy's tough to deal with. Rory just absolutely made him look like he didn't belong there. He actually treated him like No. 9."
White said the MacDonald title bout would "absolutely, positively, without a doubt, be in Canada. He's next in line and that fight will be in Canada."
White did not specify a date or city for MacDonald's title shot other than to say he's next.
The UFC has a March date reserved in Montreal. A Toronto date is also expected in 2015.
Tom Wright, director of operations for the UFC in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, said last week he expects two or three pay-per-view shows in Canada next year.
MacDonald has not faced Hendricks. He lost a split decision to Lawler when they met at UFC 167 in November 2013.
MacDonald, while no trash-talker, has been making his claim to a title shot in recent months.
"One day, very soon the belt will be mine," MacDonald said after winning a unanimous decision over Woodley at UFC 174 in Vancouver in June.
After beating Saffiedine, the Canadian argued he was the logical contender.
"I really don't see anyone else,'' he said.
On Monday, he tweeted a smiling photo of himself sitting on a bench, holding a sign that said "Title shot or bust!"
It's hard to argue with him. No. 4 Carlos Condit, while he holds a 2010 win over MacDonald, has fought for the title and lost and is currently recovering from a knee injury. No. 5 Matt Brown lost to Lawler in June and No. 6 Hector Lombard is set to face Josh Burkman at UFC 182 in January.
MacDonald, a training partner of St-Pierre's, said he would never fight his friend. With GSP on hiatus from the sport, there are no such obstacles in his course.
Hendricks is currently listed as more than a 2-1 favourite to beat Lawler.
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