In breaking down the Top 10 Prospects in the sport heading into 2010 last week, Rory MacDonald ranked #4, with the following explanation:
Things I had done before my 21st birthday: began university, drank, partied, studied a little, got kicked out of university, worked a couple crappy jobs and realized I needed to go back to university.
Things Rory MacDonald has done before his 21st birthday: win nine professional MMA bouts, knocked out H.I.T. Squad product Clay French, signed a four-fight deal with the biggest promotion in the sport.
As if to somehow make myself feel even more inadequate with what I’m accomplished through the first 31 years of my life, I recently spoke with MacDonald and realized that the 20-year-old from Kelowna is not only a future star in the making, but also a supremely confident young man with ready to dominant the UFC, starting on Monday.
Heavy.com: How’s training camp going?
Rory MacDonald: It’s going really well. I have spent some time with Georges St-Pierre and had a lot of great training here in Kelowna.
Heavy.com: How did the opportunity to train with GSP and Firas Zahabi come about and what did you take away from working with them?
Rory MacDonald: My coach Dave (Lea) helped work it out by contacting Firas and Denis Kang. I stayed there (Tri Star Gym in Montreal) for 2 weeks back in June, and now that I know everyone, they have welcomed me back anytime. Georges brought me up to train with him for a week during this fight camp (for UFC 100 against Thiago Alves).
Heavy.com: What do you know about your opponent, Mike Guymon, who is also making his UFC debut?
Rory MacDonald: I have seen lots of tape on him, so I don’t think I’ll be surprised by anything. But I’m training for a war.
Heavy.com: If all goes well next week and you could pick your next opponent, who would we see across from you next?
Rory MacDonald: Seriously – no idea. I haven’t thought about it at all.
Heavy.com: Tell everyone how a kid from Kelowna makes it to the UFC; when did you start training MMA? Where have you fought? Where do you train?
Rory MacDonald: I have watched the UFC since I was 6, and then I found an MMA gym called Toshido (here in Kelowna). After about two years of training, I started fighting professionally. I started training when I was 14, and fighting pro at 16. I got signed by the UFC because of hard work, a great team and coaching, and a blessing from God.
Heavy.com: What were your family’s thoughts when you decided to pursue a career as a fighting?
Rory MacDonald: They were a little surprised, but they knew leading up to it that I had been super into the sport, so they took the news well.
Heavy.com: Did you have to make any promises to anyone? We often hear of basketball players who promise to go back and finish their college degrees if they come out early or musicians who say they’ll quit the biz if they’re not making a decent living in year.
Rory MacDonald: I have a promise to myself that one day I’ll be the greatest fighter to ever live, without any doubt in anyone’s mind!
Heavy.com: Vancouver just received conditional sanctioning for MMA on a two-year trial basis, and are expected to have the UFC in town over the summer. How badly do you want to fight on that card?
Rory MacDonald: That’s definitely something I would love to do, but right now I’m worrying about Mike Guymon on January 11th.
Heavy.com: What is your take on the sport in Canada?
Rory MacDonald: Well, there are a lot of people into it right now, but there is still room for improvement. I still meet people that don’t know who GSP or Anderson Silva are, and I believe guys like that should be household names.
Heavy.com: How important will getting Ontario legislated be for the continued growth of MMA in Canada?
Rory MacDonald: I don’t know; hopefully it will make some positive waves.
Heavy.com: I ask everyone this question, so I have to ask you – what are your thoughts on the whole teammates / friends fighting issue?
Rory MacDonald: I probably wouldn’t fight a team member of mine, but every situation is different i guess. As far as friends fighting, I have friends who compete in the UFC and other organizations that I am not teammates with, so if I were to get matched up against them, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It’s our job and most everyone in the sport knows that.
Heavy.com: Where do you see yourself at this time next year? Two years from now? Five years from now?
Rory MacDonald: Next year, I see myself being 3-0 in the UFC. Two years from now, I’m 6 or 7 and 0, and five years from now, I see myself being the undefeated UFC world champion.
Heavy.com: You’re 20 years old and still growing. Do you see a move up in weight somewhere down the line, or is 170 an easy weight for you to make and where you want to stay?
Rory MacDonald: Right now, 170 is fine, but even if I don’t get any bigger in the future, I’ll be fighting at heavier weight classes anyway.
Heavy.com: Please elaborate – what do you walk around at? Are you talking about fighting at middleweight the way BJ Penn last fought GSP at welterweight, just putting on the pounds and not necessarily doing it “the right way,” or just that you’re naturally going to get bigger as you age, not necessarily intentionally putting on mass?
Rory MacDonald: Well, I’m going to do everything smart and take my time to get comfortable at a bigger weight class. I’ll never get as big as Brock Lesnar, but basically, I will one day test myself as a heavyweight and every weight class in between. Right now, at my young age, I’m only worried about welterweight and doing well for many years to come.
Heavy.com: If you could fight anyone – historical figure, fighter, dead or alive, literally anyone – who would it be and why?
Rory MacDonald: “Sugar” Ray Robinson or Mike Tyson; they were amazing fighters that I look up to, and their names will never die as long as the sport is alive.
Heavy.com: If you could play matchmaker for a day without any organizational ties or financial limitations, what three fights would you make and why?
Rory MacDonald: Fedor vs. Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre vs. Jake Shields, BJ Penn vs. Joachim Hansen.
Heavy.com: Any shout outs and / or sponsorship plugs?
Rory MacDonald: Thank you to my family, training partners and coach Dave Lea. Thank you to Nick Ring and GSP for their help in this training camp also.
Heavy.com: Thanks for doing this and good luck.
Rory MacDonald: No problem and thank you.