Better look out, this Canuck babyface can fight

Rory MacDonald.(Dominic Chan/WENN.com)

Rory MacDonald.(Dominic Chan/WENN.com)

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

Canada's Rory MacDonald has a warning for his opponent Mike Pyle: Don't let the babyface fool you.

MacDonald, who at 22 has been a pro fighter for six years, says he's used to taking flak for his boyish looks.

"I'm growing up a little more in my looks now, but when I first started it was crazy. I looked like I was 12 years old," says the Kelowna, B.C., fighter, who will face Pyle on the main card of UFC 133 in Philadelphia on Saturday.

"People can think what they think, but when the cage door closes, it's man versus man. It doesn't matter what I look like at that point."

MacDonald, 11-1 as a pro and 2-1 in the UFC, has been a student -- or at least an excited observer -- of mixed-martial arts since he was kindergarten- aged.

"I was introduced to MMA by my father at the age of five or six, so I always had an interest in the UFC," says MacDonald.

"As a kid, I was very athletic. I played hockey, soccer, baseball, track and field. I just did everything I could to be active. I found a gym at the age of 14 in Kelowna and just fell in love with MMA. I turned pro at 16 and I dropped everything else and went 100% at it."

His dedication led him to the King of the Cage lightweight title by age 19 and a spot on the UFC roster at just 20.

But he suffered a well-fought loss against Carlos Condit at UFC 115 in Vancouver -- falling victim to a TKO via punches with just seconds left in the third round.

MacDonald said he learned a lot from his loss.

PRESSURE RELEASE

"After that fight, my confidence was shaken a little bit," says MacDonald, who came into the fight as the hometown hero with an undefeated record. "I had a lot of pressure going into that fight. After that fight, I felt like I had released a lot of pressure that I had put on myself."

MacDonald changed camps and moved to Montreal to train with Firas Zahabi at the famed Tristar Gym -- home to Georges St. Pierre and a fistful of other UFC vets.

MacDonald bounced back in his next outing with a lopsided victory against the always-game Nate Diaz at UFC 129 in Toronto.

He demonst rated his strength and maturity en route to a unanimous decision.

MacDonald says he doesn't plan many changes to take on the 21-7-1 Pyle.

"I just work on the stuff that Firas is teaching me in the gym," he says.


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