Rory MacDonald's demeanor at the UFC on Fox 5 open workouts could best be described as stoic. His face was of a man whose entire focus was on his opponent, BJ Penn. Fight! Magazine's Chuck Mendenhall said it was "American Psycho suave" in a recent magazine feature.
MacDonald was definitely focused on Penn as he spoke with attending MMA media in a press scrum. It's easy for a young fighter to get caught up in the legacy of a fighter such as Penn, but MacDonald isn't focused on the legend; he's focused on the man.
"He goes down in history for sure. It doesn't make a difference for what's going to happen. Status is just that. It's temporary in this world, in this sport," MacDonald told Bleacher Report. "I'm focused on beating the person, not the status. It doesn't play a role in fighting, so why focus on it?"
The 23-year-old fighter has been training for this day since he was 14. In fact, he knew that this is what he wanted to do after his very first MMA class.
"I was 14 in my first MMA class. I pretty much knew this is what I would strive for in my life. I didn't really need support at the time. I found strength in myself to do it." He added, "it's consumed my life, to be the best martial artist. It's who I am. It's always on my mind. I'm living my life the way I want."
"It was just a moment when you feel like that's what you want to do with your life."
MacDonald's opponent was adamant in the lead up to the fight that they needed to undergo outside VADA testing for their fight. Some thought that it could take MacDonald's focus away from the fight, but he doesn't believe that it had any impact on his training or mindset.
"It wasn't a distraction, it was just annoying to be woken up and have a needle poked in your arm. Having to piss in front of somebody. It was something I didn't enjoy. It was not a distraction from my training or what the task at hand is."
He continued, "it was just a nuisance. It wasn't a huge deal to me. It didn't make that big of an impact. We got it done. We proved that we are clean fighters. It is what it is."
After viewing the latest Fox special The Road to the Octagon, MacDonald is all but certain that Penn may not be entirely dedicated to their fight. Penn was seen in high spirits about his Octagon return.
"I think he's fighting for the wrong reasons and it's going to get him hurt. He's fighting for his status. It's something that isn't real. He wants to change people's opinions. He doesn't realized that those aren't real."
"I'm fighting to hurt him. Not for someone's opinion."
*All quotes attained first hand by Bleacher Report