'The Waterboy' unfazed by limelight

Kelowna’s Rory MacDonald takes on Mike Cuymon in his UFC debut in January. (UFC)

Kelowna’s Rory MacDonald takes on Mike Cuymon in his UFC debut in January. (UFC)

MATT KIELTYKA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:58 PM ET

Thousands of eyes will be on him when he steps into the octagon at UFC 115 in Vancouver.

But don’t tell that to Rory MacDonald.

The 21-year-old Kelowna resident, an undefeated welterweight prospect, will be the closest thing a sold-out crowd at GM Place will have to a hometown fighter at the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s debut event in Western Canada.

Fans have already pinned their hopes on the “Water Boy” but MacDonald -- who takes on former WEC champion Carlos Condit on the main card -- isn't getting carried away.

“To be honest I don’t like the hype and talking up a fight,” the humble fighter said. “I’m obviously very excited to be on the main card, especially in Vancouver, but I’m definitely not going to be fazed. It’s like any other fight. When I’m in there I don’t think about anything else.”

And he needs to be focused.

In Condit (24-5), MacDonald faces a legitimate threat whose few losses have come from the likes of UFC favourite Martin Kampmann and current Strikeforce champion Jake Shields.

“It’s definitely the biggest fight of my career,” said the Canadian, coming off a submission victory over Mike Guymon in his UFC debut earlier this year. “He’s so well rounded it’s hard to have much of a game plan. I think we’re both going to just see where the fight goes. It’ll be exciting, I promise that much.”

A King of the Cage lightweight champion from the tender age of 19, MacDonald has amassed an impressive 10-0 record, with six submissions and four TKOs.

A win would thrust him right into the middle of the welterweight picture but MacDonald isn’t thinking about title shots yet.

“The division is so deep and has so many big fights,” he said. “I’ve only had one UFC fight so I’m not even thinking about that. I need to fight more guys.”

Incidentally, the man at the top of the division – the great Georges St. Pierre – is a close friend and sparring partner of MacDonald’s.

Should they square off one day, it’ll be the culmination of years and years of hard work and sacrifice for MacDonald.

“I’ve been doing this since I was 14,” he said. “You see too many guys come in the gym and think they can train once a week and it will be enough, but it’s not like that. I trained my ass off even when I was basically broke but it’s starting to pay off now.”

Around the MMA world:

Brazil's WEC featherweight champ Jose Aldo (16-1) etched his name at the top of many pound-for-pound lists after he ruthlessly cut down No. 1 contender Urijah Faber in Sacramento, Cali. Saturday night.

But it was an undercard bout that stole the show at the organization’s first-ever pay-per-view event. Leonard Garcia stood toe-to-toe with “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung for three rounds in a featherweight brawl that’s already being hailed as a potential fight of the decade.


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