MacDonald a new breed of MMA fighters

MATT KIELTYKA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:11 PM ET

VANCOUVER — There’s something different about the way Rory MacDonald fights.

You see it in the way he uses his hips while throwing a punch.

Never overextended, the power comes from the clean, crisp and fluid motions of a trained, technical boxer.

But don’t admire his footwork for too long, because the UFC’s youngest fighter seamlessly shoots in for the takedown and works for a rear-naked choke before most people can blink.

Welcome to the new breed of mixed martial artist.

At just 20 years of age, the Kelowna, B.C., resident, takes on former WEC champion Carlos Condit on the main card of UFC 115 in Vancouver Saturday, represents an evolutionary leap for UFC fighters.

Unlike virtually everyone that came before, MacDonald didn’t start training in a single discipline.

He never stepped into a karate dojo or boxing gym as a kid.

He’s never had to worry about how his jiu-jitsu would hold up against a striker, or whether he has the skills to avoid a wrestler’s takedown.

He’s comfortable in all situations because MacDonald has been training mixed martial arts since he was a 14-year-old boy.

Slick, versatile and dynamic, MacDonald strives to be the complete fighter.

“You’re going to see more guys who strike and then they’ll hit the takedown. Not because they’re in danger, but just because they can,” the soft-spoken fighter said. “Ground, stand up, knees, clinch, everything. You’re going to see the entire package.”

With the popularity of the sport, more fighters like MacDonald – who know only mixed martial arts – are coming down the pipe.

“It’s incredible,” said UFC president Dana White. “Chuck [Liddell] says it all the time. When he first got into this thing, they didn’t even know how to train. They’d do some jiu-jitsu and they’d do some kickboxing, and then some wrestling. Now, little kids are taking mixed marital arts instead of karate or tae kwon-do.

“You want to talk about evolving, with these kids coming up now that are learning MMA, the sport is just going to get so much more exciting, and the athletes are going to get better and better.”


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