MacDonald looking for submission against Quarry

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 1:28 PM ET

Last year at UFC 83 in Montreal, Quarry competed against Canadian Kalib Starnes in a bout that is now famous for all the wrong reasons.

After eating several hard shots, Starnes began backtracking and refused to engage for the remainder of the fight. As the match dragged on Quarry began openly mocking Starnes to the delight of the furious audience.

After losing a unanimous decision, with one judge even scoring the bout 30-24 in favour of Quarry, Starnes and the UFC went their separate ways.

MacDonald, who defeated Joe Doerksen earlier that night, watched the fight from the audience.

"I can only speak for myself, but I've been hit really hard," MacDonald said laughing. "I fought Rich Franklin and Chris Leben and those are two individuals who hit extremely hard. But I've been able to bite down on my mouthpiece and keep fighting. It's never changed things to the point where I was no longer willing to fight."

Though Quarry's striking sent Starnes into retreat-mode that night, MacDonald said he can trade on the feet long enough to get the fight to the ground.

"I feel I could stay in there, keep the fight standing and it could be a pretty back-and-forth battle," he said. "I stand as much of a chance of knocking him out and he does of knocking me out. But when the fight hits the ground, I don't feel Nate Quarry has the skills to submit me. I know I have the skills to submit him.

"This training camp I've worked equally as hard on my stand-up, but my strength is my ground game, so that's what I'm going to try to use to put him away."

Both MacDonald and Quarry are coming off losses and need wins to ensure they stay employed with the UFC. Quarry was submitted by BJJ wizard Demian Maia at UFC 91 and, for MacDonald, there's the aforementioned loss to Gouveia.

"With the way the UFC has been letting people go lately, I think any time you come off a loss it's very apparent that you don't want to lose two in a row," MacDonald said. "You want to stay winning and put on exciting fights for the fans.

"Last year was disappointing because I'd win one then lose one. They were all very exciting fights against tough guys, but if you want to move forward and become a contender you have to put three or four wins together."

MacDonald said that his 5-4 UFC record has earned him the label of 'gatekeeper,' something he looks to shake in 2009.

"I feel like right now I'm more of a gatekeeper. If the guys can get past me, they move on and become a contender. If not, they move down into the lower end of the division.

"But hey, if the gatekeeper label keeps me in the UFC then I'm all right with it. But my goal is to move forward and become a contender."

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