Interview – Rory MacDonald Looks to KO the Joker
For years Canadian MMA fans have looked to Rory MacDonald as the next great Canadian MMA fighter. Now after making weight for his Welterweight fight, MacDonald will make his UFC debut against Mike “Joker” Guymon for Monday’s UFC Fight Night 20 card.
At the age of 14, the athletic MacDonald began his MMA training at Kelowna, BC’s Toshido Mixed Martial Arts under trainer David Lea. “I have always focused 100% on MMA,” Rory tells Top MMA News. “I never did Karate or Judo. I have only trained under MMA instruction.”
Under his instructor’s watchful eye, Rory started professionally fighting at the age of 16. How did his mother feel about Rory fighting professionally so young in his life? “My family was very unsure at the start, but I had good stepping stones that got me ready for pro debut. I was pretty young but it was not a mistake. Even looking back I don’t feel it was a mistake. I was very serious about it and my coach was very serious about it.”
Indeed, David Lea and MacDonald choose very deliberate opponents to sharpen Rory’s game in different aspects of MMA. Rory compares his progression of fights to boxing,
“Boxing champions take a lot of fights before they are champions to get better. They take strategic fights and that is what my coach David and I did. We strategically planned it out. We fought a better guy, then a better guy, each with different skills in different areas in MMA. Each time I would train differently. Now that I am in UFC, it is like I have reached the championship level. I am not in control who I am fighting but I am ready to take on whoever the UFC asked me to.”
All that sharpening honed Rory’s game to a fine edge. He never went to a decision and defeated all nine of his opponents – four by TKO and five by submission. MacDonald states, “A big part of my style is to finish fights. Champions do not like decisions and they do not feel that they are legitimate wins. I feel that if it goes to a decision, I did not legitimately beat him.” Rory beat everyone as he worked up the ranks of the King of the Cage and defeated tough fighters like Kajan Johnson and Clay French and won the KOTC’s World Lightweight title.
Now a Welterweight, Rory MacDonald faces another UFC debuting fighter, Mike Guymon, on the undercard of UFC Fight Night 20. How does MacDonald feel about his first UFC opponent? “I was actually going to fight Mike Guymon before and it fell through. It worked out for the best. Mike Guymon is the perfect opponent for me to have my first UFC fight against. Thanks to Joe Silva and the UFC it worked out great,” he answers.
Unwilling to give away any strategy, Rory does believe that he will knock out Guymon, “I have been watching tapes and have a good idea on what he is going to do. I am pretty confident that I will be able to knock him out. Its going to be a good fight.” Canadians hope that it is a quick knockout so that the fight might be replayed on Spike TV’s telecast. “That’s what I am looking for,” is how the undefeated fighter responds when a Knockout of the Night bonus is mentioned.
After his debut, MacDonald will have three fights left on his UFC contract and Rory does not care who he fights next. He states, “I am not scared of anyone. I am ready to fight whoever.” However, he would rather not fight his fellow Canadian Welterweights (GSP, Jonathan Goulet, TJ Grant) yet. “I know all the Canadians in the UFC. They are all buddies of mine. We are all professional enough that we would fight and be friends in the end. Fighting is not personal it is the business that we are in. I would rather not fight them, but it would not be a big deal.” In fact, he went to Tristar in Montreal to train with Georges St-Pierre for this fight for a week. The rest of training camp was spent with Lea and talented Toshido training partners Gary Wright, Clay Davidson, and Nick Ring.
One thing the British Columbia native would like to do next is fight at UFC 115 in Vancouver in front of his home town fans. “It would be amazing to fight in GM Place where I grew up watching the Canucks.” Right now, though, his sights are set on keeping his record unblemished by beating Mike Guymon.