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Rory MacDonald: “I’ve come to a point in my career where I don’t look up to anybody in this sport anymore.”

UFC welterweight Rory MacDonald celebrated his 23rd birthday this past weekend yet he carries the professional weight of a man much older. “Ares” eats, sleeps, and breathes training and it has shown in his rise to stardom despite being so young. The Canadian wunderkind has gone 13-1 in his MMA career including a quartet of wins inside the Octagon and is poised to face legend B.J. Penn in two months at UFC 152.

Mature beyond his years, MacDonald was recently asked about taking on an opponent with Penn’s history in the sport and, as respectfully as possible, made it clear it is all business anytime he steps into the Octagon.

“To fight a guy like B.J. is an honor. I’ve watched his fights since I was 14 years old and I have looked up to him. But I’ve come to a point in my career where I don’t look up to anybody in this sport anymore,” said MacDonald during a press conference promoting the September 22 show. “Obviously I still respect him and all that but I’m here to beat him and hurt him.”

For further perspective, Penn was 2-0 in the UFC before MacDonald turned 12. However, the last few years have clearly favored MacDonald with a 4-1 mark in his last five compared to Penn’s 1-3-1.

Check out highlights from the UFC 152 presser below:

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC