Fighter Feature: Rory 'The Red King' Macdonald
This Sunday, 25-year-old Canadian wonder kid Rory Macdonald will take on Ruthless Robbie Lawler for the UFC Welterweight Championship. Despite his young age, the title shot is the culmination of a long journey for the Vancouver native who started training at the age of 14.
Making his UFC debut in 2010 on the back of an impressive 9-0 professional record, Macdonald, dubbed the next big thing and a future champion, has spent a majority of his MMA career living in the shadow of legendary martial artist Georges St-Pierre. Not only does Macdonald train at the same gym as St-Pierre, he also fights in the Welterweight division, a division that was Georges St Pierre’s house for the longest time.
Throughout his career, Macdonald has had to deal with the pressures of being compared to St-Pierre, a position that few would envy. However, staying true to the person he is, Macdonald has always brushed aside such comparisons, calling St Pierre an idol and a role model but not somebody he looks to imitate. He prides himself on having his own unique style.
St-Pierre, on his part, has called Rory a future champion, and Sunday could be the fulfillment of that prophecy.
With most fighters, it’s easy to find holes in their games. MMA is a sport of so many weapons that it’s impossible to be an expert in all aspects. Macdonald, however, is one of those rare fighters who don’t seem to have a weakness. Excellent technical striking ability, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and an ever-improving wrestling game make him one of the most well-rounded and dangerous fighters in the world.
That said, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Macdonald; he has had his fair share of adversity. At UFC 115, in his hometown of Vancouver and in only his second UFC fight, Macdonald faced Carlos Condit. It was a battle between an established star in Condit, on the cusp of a title run, and a rising star in Macdonald who was billed as the future of Canadian MMA.
In a bout that won the fight of the night award, Macdonald lost to Condit via 3rd round TKO after being hit by a combination of elbows and punches. It was a loss that could have derailed the young star’s career and probably would have hampered a lesser man.
Macdonald, however, calls it the most important fight of his life. It was his first loss, but rather than get upset, he hit the gym and trained harder than ever. Flaws in his game had been exposed, and he was determined to correct them.
He would come roaring back at UFC 129 in Toronto to defeat Nate Diaz in a dominant performance, which included suplexing Diaz three times in the final round.