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Bellator signs former UFC title contender Rory MacDonald

Rory MacDonald speaks to fans and media during

Rory MacDonald speaks to fans and media during the UFC 189 World Championship Press Tour at Flames Central on March 25, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Derek Leung

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Former UFC welterweight title contender Rory MacDonald has signed with Bellator.

MacDonald announced his decision Friday night during the Bellator 160 show, walking into Honda Center in front of a large Canadian flag.

MacDonald (18-4) is among the world’s top 170-pound fighters despite losing his last two bouts. The British Columbia native had a 13-fight UFC career that included victories over Demian Maia, B.J. Penn, Nate Diaz and current UFC champion Tyron Woodley.

But he was stopped by former champ Robbie Lawler in a brutal title fight in July 2015, and he took 11 months off before returning with a one-sided loss to Stephen Thompson in June.

MacDonald joins Benson Henderson as Bellator’s biggest free-agent signings away from the UFC.

MacDonald says he is “taking over” the Bellator welterweight division.

New York Sports