Over the last couple of years, UFC welterweight Rory MacDonald has gained a reputation for wearing custom-made suits and carrying an icy demeanor whenever he's talking about a fight.
Rarely does MacDonald ever seem to crack a smile, and his steely gaze is something akin to a predator quietly tracking its prey.
It's earned him comparisons in jest to fictional characters like Patrick Bateman from American Psycho or Dexter Morgan from the popular Showtime series Dexter. MacDonald isn't playing a character, however, because being detached from his fights emotionally allows him to just focus on an opponent and not get drawn into some ugly verbal war with another fighter.
So when MacDonald's latest opponent Jake Ellenberger took aim at him on Twitter, he did his best to ignore it and just keep his sights on the fight at hand.
MacDonald admits that he never really took Ellenberger for a trash talker, but nothing he's said or will possibly say can rattle the young Canadian before they meet in the Octagon.
"I guess I didn't really see it coming, but it doesn't really bother me to tell you the truth," MacDonald told Bleacher Report. "It's just talk. People have been talking s—t about me my whole life so I've gotten pretty used to dealing with it. At the end of the day I usually come out on top so I'm not really worried about his talking. It doesn't really bother me."
At just 23 years old, MacDonald is five years younger than his next opponent, but when it comes to maturity he thinks he's got the edge.
"I guess I shake my head sometimes. It comes across as kind of childish, and it just seems like there's a lot of insecurities when people start talking like that or they're just trying to get more fans or more attention on themselves, they're trying to make themselves more confident. I really don't know," MacDonald said.
"I really just try to focus on myself and the martial arts side of things. It doesn't really interest me, the whole s—t talking thing. When it happens I voice my opinion on it sometimes, but it's very childish. I don't really think it has a place in martial arts.
"It's like the new model for promoting a fight in mixed martial arts. For me, I never understood it. It reminds me of high school sometimes. The way all the UFC fighters have been talking to each other, the way they have been very immature. The way people respond too has been on the most part immature as well. I think people need to learn how to keep it classy a little bit."
MacDonald's method of preparation doesn't differ much based on anything an opponent says about or towards him leading up to a fight. It's the cold, detached demeanor that MacDonald carries that earned him those notorious nicknames, but in a way they are quite fitting because that's exactly the way he approaches a fight.
It's not about what's said before a fight that matters to MacDonald—only how he executes inside the cage.
"I don't ever know the people I fight at all. I just know their name and I show up on the night, they show up, and we fight in a cage and we paid for it," said MacDonald. "That's what we like to do.
"Nothing changes, it's a fight. It is a bigger scale fight I guess, but I don't really pay too much attention to it. I just focus on the fight part of it and the rest of it will take care of itself. I kind of felt like my career has been that way. I've moved up the ranks pretty fast because of the way I've performed. I don't think I need to change anything."
Whether Jake Ellenberger decides to continue his charge at MacDonald via Twitter or in interviews remains to be seen. MacDonald promises that no matter which way he swings, it won't matter once they are locked in the Octagon together.
What's most important to MacDonald isn't what Ellenberger says, but how he performs. He's got that part of the game locked down to a science.
"I think he's a good fighter. He's got a lot of good tools, but I think he's got a lot of weaknesses as well," MacDonald said of Ellenberger. "I think I'll be able to exploit them quite well and I'm very confident that I'll have a dominant victory."
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.