Rory MacDonald was his usual stoic self during the UFC 170 pre-fight press conference earlier this week.

MacDonald, coming off a tough decision loss to Robbie Lawler, will face Demian Maia tonight from Las Vegas.

Despite the setback, the Tristar Gym fighter can position himself right back at the top of the list of welterweight contenders with a win over Maia. And, he doesn’t even have to bother with all those questions surrounding a potential fight with teammate Georges St-Pierre.

St-Pierre vacated the title, leaving MacDonald to step out of those shadows. Just don’t tell the Canadian that.

“I never felt there was a shadow there (with GSP),” he said. “There is less pressure not having to respond to the question, ‘Am I gonna fight him.’

“That is a relief.”

MacDonald (15-2) was on the cusp of a title shot by winning five straight after a 2010 loss to Carlos Condit. However, he had what he referred to as a “bad day” last November against Lawler, dropping a split decision.

Lawler is now scheduled to fight Johny Hendricks next month for the vacant UFC title.

“It just wasn’t my day,” he said. “I couldn’t be myself. I was just off, just not a good day.”

MacDonald claims fans will see “more of myself coming out” in this fight with Maia. Before the loss to Lawler, he had stopped Che Mills and Mike Pyle, while earning decisions over Jake Ellenberger and former UFC champion BJ Penn.