Returning to the winner’s enclosure at UFC Vegas 26 on Saturday, long time welterweight contender, Neil Magny maintains he’s still open to the possibility of standing opposite, Khamzat Chimaev in the future in a bid to propel his career further, however, claims he can’t wait around on his return.
Featuring for the first time since a UFC Fight Island 8 main event loss to the #6 ranked, Michael Chiesa, division mainstay, Magny handed kickboxing standout, Geoff Neal his second consecutive loss via unanimous decision in a main card bout at the UFC Apex facility over the weekend.
Following his judging loss to The Ultimate Fighter 15 victor, Chiesa, Magny was subsequently linked to a return against the above-mentioned undefeated, Chimaev — who has seen three scheduled pairings with the #3 ranked 170lbs contender, Leon Edwards shelved.
Dealing with health issues amid a positive COVID-19 test result last year, Chimaev hinted at a possible retirement from professional mixed martial arts, however, UFC president, Dana White maintained that he expected a summer return for the AllStars MMA mainstay, before Chechnya leader, Ramzan Kadyrov explained that he spoke personally with Chimaev where he reminded him of his influence on the younger generation of the country.
Chimaev’s manager, Al Abdelaziz also confirmed that Chimaev was in line for a possible August return, inviting the prospect of a showdown against Elevation Fight Team staple, Magny next.
Speaking with media assembled following UFC Vegas 26 on Saturday, Magny claimed he would be open to sharing the Octagon with Chimaev next, but maintained he can’t wait on his return.
“I’m at this point where Khamzat (Chimaev) is this great competitor,” Magny said. “I can definitely fight him and propel my career forward. But at the same time, I can’t put my career and life on hold to hope that he’s better (medically). The guy has pulled out of three fights over the last few months. So for me to kind of put all my eggs in one basket and wait for him and hope that he’s ready this summer, it’s just foolish on my end.“
“I think if he prioritizes getting healthy and can actually complete a camp and show up to a fight, then sure, that’s a fight that I’m definitely interested in,” Magny continued. “But as far as putting my life on hold for him, I have things that I want to accomplish and time is not my best friend at this point, so I can’t wait around for him.“
Namely, Magny hopes to accomplish his goal of earning a title shot and eventually lifting welterweight gold as well as providing for his family in the same breath.
“At the end of the day, the title shot and becoming a UFC champion is the end goal,” Magny explained. “But I have to be realistic about the path I take to get there. I’m one injury away from never fighting again. I’m one opportunity away from never fighting again. So I have to be cautious of that and be aware of that. I do have a son to provide for, so thoughts do cross my mind when it comes to how long I’m sitting around and waiting for my next fight. At the end of the day, the gold belt would be great. But providing for my family is my number one goal at this point.” (H/T MMA Junkie)
Despite the falter opposite Chiesa in Abu Dhabi, UAE at the beginning of the year, Magny has now won four of his last five Octagon outings, adding Neal to a recent run which includes successes against Li Jingliang, Anthony Rocco Martin, and former welterweight champion, Robbie Lawler.