MMA: Different story for Rory

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:43 PM ET

When Rory MacDonald steps into the octagon at UFC 129, he will be surrounded by 55,000 rabid MMA fans in Torontos Rogers Centre. But in the Kelowna, B.C., welterweights mind, it will be just him, a referee and his opponent, Nate Diaz.

I dont really pay too much attention to the number of fans and the tickets (sold), MacDonald said in an interview with QMI Agency.

Im actually trying really hard not to think about it. Its nice that the UFC can pull in big crowds like that and that it can happen in my country its awesome. But I have to worry about me fighting on that show, not how many people are watching.

I made that mistake in the past with all the extra perks from fighting in the big show. After a loss, it changed my outlook on things. Im just focusing on one guy and thats Nate Diaz.

The error in question came against Carlos (Natural Born Killer) Condit at UFC 115 in Vancouver last June when MacDonald suffered his only career loss.

Things started out well for MacDonald, who took the fight to Condit for the first 10 minutes. However, the pressure of losing lit a fire under Condit, who turned things around and a scored a brutal TKO victory with only seven seconds left on the clock.

MacDonald admitted he let the hoopla get to him.

If you look at the fight, I was very into it, MacDonald said. I was very emotional, very pumped up from the crowd and the energy that was in the building. It took my focus away from my game plan.

It made things emotional, where as I like to have no emotion. When I fight (I aim to) have a level head and follow my game plan as Ive practised.

MacDonald and Diaz will meet on the Spike TV broadcast portion of UFC 129 on April 30. The event will be headlined by two title fights. Welterweight champion Georges (Rush) St. Pierre is set to defend his strap against Jake Shields and London, Ont., native Mark (The Machine) Hominick will challenge featherweight titleholder Jose (Scarface) Aldo.

MacDonald admits he doesnt like to study tape on his opponents.

Im continuing on my training regimen that Ive got scheduled, MacDonald said. Im not worried about how hes training and his skills. Im worried about me improving myself. Hell have to deal with me. Im not worried about what hes going to bring.

Ive watched him in the UFC and watched the cards. I know generally what he brings to the table, but Im not too worried about studying his every movement.

MacDonald hasnt fought since the loss to Condit 10 months ago. He was originally scheduled to face Matt (The Immortal) Brown at UFC 123 in November, but required knee surgery and had to back out of the fight.

MacDonald said fellow Canadian fighter Denis Kang helped him during the tough recovery.

Im really lucky to have a good friend in Denis Kang, who kind of took me into his home, MacDonald said. He watched over me and I hung out with him all the time. I basically lived with him at his house for the entire time I was recovering from my surgery. I didnt get that crazy because I was at the gym and talking to him about fighting all the time.

It wasnt fun in terms of not being able to train, but that was the best situation possible for my mind to be around a fighter and talk about it all the time. (It helped to) keep my mind fresh.

Now with his knee fully healed, MacDonald said he cant wait to step back into the cage,

Im really hungry, he said. I want to get back in there and feel that adrenalin that feeling you get when youre fighting in the UFC.

THIS AND THAT

Have you been praying every night for Georges (Rush) St. Pierre to defeat Jake Shields so he can go on to challenge Anderson (The Spider) Silva in the biggest super fight in MMA history? Well, I have some bad news. Regardless of the outcome at UFC 129, Silva is slated to defend his middleweight championship against Yushin (Thunder) Okami at UFC 134 on Aug. 27, in Rio de Janeiro. UFC president Dana White revealed the fight earlier in the week to USA Today ... Also at UFC 134, Mauricio (Shogun) Rua will get the opportunity to avenge his previous loss to Forrest Griffin. GracieMag.com reported the fight was in the works and MMAFighting.com later confirmed it with White. Griffin submitted Rua with a rear-naked choke at UFC 76 in 2007 Nate (The Great) Marquardt has decided to pull the trigger on his teased drop to welterweight. Following his dominant decision victory over Dan Miller at UFC 128 in March, Marquardt admitted he no longer needed to cut weight to compete at 185 pounds as a result of his new diet. The former middleweight challenger will test the 170-pound waters when he meets Anthony (Rumble) Johnson at UFC on Versus 4 in Pittsburgh on June 26 Diego (The Dream) Sanchez will take part in the Toronto UFC Fan Expo tourney. Sanchez meets Canadian Andrew McInnes in the first round of a four-man event. The winner will go on to face the victor of a match between Toronto BJJ head instructor Jorge Britto and American jiu jitsu whiz Ryan Hall. Both semifinal bouts take place at the Direct Energy Centre on Fri., April 29, at 1:30 p.m. ET. The tournament finale will go Sat., April 30, at 1:30 p.m. ET.


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