Exclusive Interview: we go ‘5 Rounds’ with UFC 163’s Neil Magny

Posted: August 1, 2013 in Interviews
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NeilVIG1Welterweight Neil Magny graduated from the Ultimate Fighter house recently to earn a spot on the UFC roster. It took a unanimous decision victory over cast-mate Jon Manley in February, but now he’s in the big show—hopefully for good. It was just announced that Magny would next be facing Sergio Moraes at UFC 163 in August. We got to sit down with Neil and discuss a few things about Moraes, life after TUF and much more. Let’s see if Neil Magny can go “5 Rounds” with VigilanteMMA.

ROUND 1

Your next opponent is Sergio Moraes at UFC 163 in Brazil. Tell us what you know about him and what you’ll be looking for in that fight.

The guy’s pretty much a jiu jitsu fighter. His wrestling’s not the greatest; his striking’s not the greatest. You still have to watch him on the feet just because he comes in wild and really doesn’t have a care whether the fight goes to the ground or not. But for the most part he’s mainly a jiu jitsu guy. Who knows what he’s working on right now, but I’m pretty confident going into the fight.

ROUND 2

Your career has really taken in the past year. A successful run on TUF, and a big win in your official UFC debut. You even have your own Wikipedia page now. What’s changed—both good and bad—since before you appeared on TUF?

Other than moving to Colorado I haven’t really noticed much of a change. Yeah, I get recognized by a few more people, but for the most part for me, it’s pretty much the same. I go to the gym, I train hard, and I just work toward my goals. I haven’t really changed much since the show. It’s a different atmosphere but it’s still me working hard and working toward my goals. It is very cool like going to Wal-Mart or Target and somebody goes, ‘hey you’re Neil Magny aren’t you?’ That’s kind of a cool thing. On the same token you have other guys who, if you go to a bar or something to hang out, you get people who start name-dropping to get more attention at the bar. That’s kind of annoying.

This happens about once a week. Guys like, ‘oh, I can do that,’ or ‘if I was 20 years younger…’ That’s something you can’t get away from. You can kind of have a target on your back when you go for just a technical class and the person across from me is like, ‘ah a UFC fighter.’ They feel like they have something to prove and they go super hard. I’m like ‘dude, relax. We’re just looking for technique here.’

ROUND 3

Here’s a hypothetical question. Let’s say you got to choose your next fight. But it could be against any fighter in history at any weight class, from any time period. Who would you choose?

That’s a hard question. I don’t really have a fighter where I just want to fight that guy so bad. I usually just like to fight the guy in front of me. From (friend and teammate) Nate (Marquardt)’s fight against (Tarec) Saffiedine—just out of emotions—I kinda had a moment where I thought, “man I can’t wait to get a fight against Saffiedine.” It was just out of emotion but I’m pretty sure we’ll cross paths one day; he’s only 23. I’m pretty sure our careers could cross paths. By then it won’t be as personal though.

ROUND 4

Another hypothetical. What if you were leaving a bar and a few troublemakers decided they wanted to start something with you out in the dark alley. Who would you want by your side?

(Laughs) I hope it’s somebody as fast as me so he could keep up! If I get put in that position, I don’t think I’ll be staying around to see what happens!! I’m taking off as fast as possible.

Most fighters—especially when you have a team setting—get more upset if it was one of their teammates. If I was at a bar or something, and some guy’s getting in my face, most of my training partners would get more upset before I would and would probably jump in a do something about it. It’s kind of like your little brother getting picked on in school. It’s like, “hey what are doing? That’s my little brother?”

ROUND 5

Last round. Hopefully your cardio is good for one more. Let’s get your thoughts on a few big fights coming up…

Anderson Silva vs Chris Weidman. I obviously have to go with Silva on that one. The guy is just in his prime right now, he’s unstoppable. The guy is great.

Rory MacDonald vs Jake Ellenberger That’s actually a really cool fight. It could go either way. Both guys have knockout power, both guys are technical—they can take the fight to the ground or keep it standing. That’s the sort of fight you just have to sit back and watch it and take it in.

Jose Aldo and Chan Sung Jung. Yeah I’m kind of upset about that fight. I thought Anthony Pettis and Jose Aldo would be a way better matchup. It’ll be interesting to see what Korean Zombie can do in that fight.

Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson. Yeah, I won’t be able to go against Jon Jones in that fight. I just like his style and I like the way he fights. There’s another guy nobody’s beating any time soon.

Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks. This is a fight where everyone talks about how great a wrestler Johny Hendricks is but he’s never had an opportunity to show how good he is in an MMA setting. It will be interesting to see how he fights against Georges St-Pierre—a guy who is super technical and sticks to his gameplan every fight. It could be a matter of defending GSP’s takedowns in order to get the knockout that he needs. If it goes 5 rounds, I think he’ll give in before GSP does.

Neil Magny vs. Sergio Moraes. (laughs) I think that Magny guy might have it. It’s another good opportunity for me to go against an outstanding grappler and show what skills I have. I think it’s a real good matchup. I can’t wait for that fight.

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