Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald set as co-main event for UFC 189

Lawler vs. MacDonald rematch is set for UFC 189 in Las Vegas.

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UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler will make the first defense of his title against Rory MacDonald in the new co-main event announced for UFC 189 on July 11 in Las Vegas.

UFC president Dana White made the announcement about the fight during a press conference on Wednesday in which White announced aggressive changes to the UFC’s drug/PED policy.

MacDonald was originally slated to face Hector Lombard in the co-main event of UFC 186 in Montreal, but the Cuban-born welterweight tested positive for performance enhancing drugs following his fight on Jan. 3 and is currently under a temporary suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

With MacDonald available to fight again, the UFC moved quickly to make the rematch with Lawler for the upcoming summer card, which also features the main-event featherweight title bout between Jose Aldo and top contender Conor McGregor.

Lawler first met MacDonald in Nov. 2013 in one of the featured bouts at UFC 167. Lawler won the fight by split decision after a hard-fought, three-round battle in which he dropped MacDonald in the final round, likely securing the victory.

Now Lawler will make his first title defense against the same man he defeated to earn his own shot at the belt in early 2014 against Johny Hendricks.

Since the loss to Lawler in 2013, MacDonald has gone 3-0 with victories over top 10 fighters Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine.

The new welterweight title fight will serve as the co-headliner for the UFC 189 card taking place in Las Vegas on July 11 as part of the UFC’s International Fight Week festivities this summer.