The future has arrived, and his name is Rory MacDonald.
At UFC on FOX 5, MacDonald dominated the legendary BJ Penn in an incredibly lopsided unanimous decision.
It was a bout that really showcased MacDonald's maturity and growth as a fighter.
Penn is a much better boxer than MacDonald on paper, but his style plays out like a broken record. He rarely utilizes any kicks with his offense, which limits his striking and makes him more predictable.
MacDonald threw everything but the kitchen sink at Penn. He used punches, kicks, elbows and takedowns. While MacDonald wasn't the better technical striker, his diverse attack kept Penn guessing.
As fighters gain experience, they learn the importance of being patient and methodical.
MacDonald paid the price for being overzealous against Carlos Condit at UFC 115. His desperation to finish the fight cost him in the third round, as he tired and Condit rallied for a comeback TKO stoppage.
Against Penn, MacDonald had a few opportunities to look for a finish, but he didn't rush anything. He carefully picked his shots.
Perhaps the scariest part about MacDonald's performance was his granite chin absorbing punches from a world class striker like Penn.
There were some fans turned off by the shuffling and showboating from MacDonald, but at the post-fight press conference, he claimed he utilized those tactics to bait Penn into opening up on the feet.
He'll have to be careful in the future with leaving his hands down against opponents with one-punch knockout power.
For years, fans have compared MacDonald to his teammate and mentor Georges St-Pierre, but after Saturday night, the comparisons are no longer relevant.
At only 23 years of age, Rory MacDonald is his own fighter and one of the top welterweights in the world.
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