Rory MacDonald already has big plans for his future just a couple of days after his Bellator debut win against Paul Daley at the Wembley Arena in London on 19 May.
The former UFC welterweight contender returned to the octagon after nearly a year on the back of two back-to-back losses against Robbie Lawler and Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson, as he submitted Daley in the second round at Bellator 179.
Now set to face the winner of the welterweight title bout between Douglas Lima and Lorenz Larkin, MacDonald (19-4 record in MMA) believes he has opened a lot of eyes, especially for the UFC who allowed him to leave.
"I opened a lot of eyes I think and I'm sure the management over at UFC feels the same way as you just said," Rory said The MMA Hour. "We are in the shoes we are in now and I'm going to continue my journey in the way I fought on Friday and we'll see where we are next contract negotiations."
"But, I am very happy with Bellator and I hope they are with me, too. I foresee a long relationship with each other."
The Santa Monica-based MMA promotion were recently interested in Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Gegard Mousasi, and having snatched MacDonald along with the likes of Larkin and Ryan Bader, "The Red King" believes the UFC will be more cautious about letting their talent go to greener pastures like Bellator, especially after his performance.
"As far as them not wanting to let go of some of their talent, being cautious on how easy they let things slip through their fingers," he added. "As I've said in the past, fighters can't always be on 24/7 every time they step into the ring."
"So you have to allow for these performances that aren't up to par from what you normally see. So, I think they definitely messed up when they let me go, but, that's their fault and Bellator's gain."
With his welterweight title dream on the horizon, the 27-year-old has also targeted the middleweight title — currently held by Rafael Carvalho — with his hopes to emulate Conor McGregor and become Bellator's first ever two-weight world champion.
"I'd like to fight for the middleweight title maybe at the end of the year if there is a big card we can promote and get me and the middleweight champion on there," he explained.
"Obviously, I am not looking past the welterweight championship fight, I'm just saying if everything goes as planned. An end of the year show for the middleweight title would be fantastic."