Most 20-year-old mixed martial artists don’t belong in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Whether it be because of a lack in overall skill, or just immaturity, the Octagon is normally too advanced for a person of that age.
However, every rule has an exception, and, in this case, Rory MacDonald is it.
MacDonald’s professional career began in 2005 when he was just 16 years young. The Canadian followed his debut victory with eight consecutive "W’s" all by knockout or submission.
Six of those wins came in the "King of the Cage" (KOTC) promotion in Canada, where the "Water Boy" finished four fights by knockout and two via submission. The Toshido Fighting Arts Academy member also held the lightweight belt before making the move to welterweight.
However, MacDonald’s biggest test is obviously yet to come, as he leaves the smaller venues for the "big show" … the UFC.
MacDonald is set to meet fellow KOTC-veteran and newcomer to the UFC Mike Guymon this Monday night, Jan. 11, at UFC Fight Night 20. The bout is a test for each fighter to see who really has what it takes to be a fighter in the UFC. However, it is an even bigger test for the 20-year old MacDonald, who is more than a decade younger than his opponent.
Yet the age factor and relative inexperience does not phase MacDonald. Come Monday night, the fans and UFC executives will get to see exactly what they are dealing with when it comes to one of the division’s top prospects.
And MacDonald is confident that he will deliver just as he has his entire career.
MMAmania.com woke MacDonald up from his Saturday nap to discuss his upcoming fight with Mike Guymon, his leap to the biggest promotion in mixed martial arts, and much, much more.
Check it out:
Nate Lawson (MMAmania.com): You are set to make your UFC debut against Mike Guymon at UFN 20. What do you know about your opponent and what have you done specifically to prepare for this kind of fighter?
Rory MacDonald: I know he’s a strong guy. He’s older. He’s like 35. He’s like 15 years older than me. So he’s gonna be a big strong guy. Besides that, I don’t think technically he is going to be too much of a surprise for me. How I prepared for him is pretty much how I prepare for every other fight. Just train.
Nate Lawson (MMAmania.com): This fight marks your UFC debut after a successful career in King of the Cage. Could you describe your feelings entering your UFC debut? Are you nervous? Anxious?
Rory MacDonald: No, it’s just like any other fight. It’s just a big event. I’m definitely looking forward to it, though.
Nate Lawson (MMAmania.com): You are only 20 years old right now and you have already accomplished a lot in your career. What is it like to enter the UFC at such a young age?
Rory MacDonald: I have a little bit of a story behind me coming in as a young guy, but no pressure really. It’s just kind of a cool, little thing, I guess, for people to talk about.
Nate Lawson (MMAmania.com): What’s it like getting a shot in the biggest promotion so early in your career, when some people have to wait until their late-20’s or early 30’s to get that opportunity?
Rory MacDonald: It’s awesome, I guess. I’ve worked really hard for it, though, since I started to train. And I knew I could achieve it. Ever since I started fighting, I knew it was a goal I could achieve. So every fight since then has been a stepping stone closer to the UFC. I just kind of knew that I’d be in here at an early age.
Nate Lawson (MMAmania.com): Well you were completely dominant in KOTC, taking out everyone that they put in front of you. What is the adjustment going to be like for the UFC and the step up in competition?
Rory MacDonald: No real adjustment. I’m just still training hard and, you know. I don’t know. It’s just no real adjustment. Nothing changes. It’s still a fight. It’s still MMA. I was actually going to fight Mike at "Cage" last year, but it didn’t work out. So I’m just prepared, just like any other fight.
Nate Lawson (MMAmania.com): How do you see this fight playing out? How do you see this fight against Guymon going?
Rory MacDonald: I think I’m going to knock him out. I think my striking all around is going to be too much for him to handle.
Nate Lawson (MMAmania.com): You find yourself in a division headed by champion Georges St. Pierre. How long until you see yourself falling into the middle of the pack, if not the upper echelon, at welterweight?
Rory MacDonald: Um, yeah, I’m really young, so it’s probably still a few years away. The division itself is definitely stacked. A lot of danger. So it’s going to be an experience, being able to fight the best in the world. They’re all basically in the UFC at welterweight, so it’s a pretty cool experience. As far as me getting to the top level of the division, I don’t see myself getting into the mix until a few years, but it’s pretty much how it goes. If I’m winning, it’s pretty much up to the UFC. If I get a title shot I’m obviously gonna take it.
Nate Lawson (MMAmania.com): A lot of people are saying that the current top contender Dan Hardy is undeserving of his title shot against Georges St. Pierre. What are your thoughts on that situation?
Rory MacDonald: Well, Georges has pretty much wiped through the division, so they do need someone to fight him. It’s either him or nobody. He’s sort of done the best as far as anyone in the division, so either he fights him or nobody fights him.
Nate Lawson (MMAmania.com): Well you are fighting this Monday night. Where do you see yourself after this fight with a win?
Rory MacDonald: If I win, I want to fight in Vancouver. That’s close to my hometown and, yeah, I’d love to fight there.
Rory MacDonald would like to thank all of his sponsors and his fight team at Toshido Fighting Arts Academy.