For going on three years, Neil Magny has been one of the most consistent winners in the UFC’s welterweight division. So, having his three-fight win streak snapped in quick TKO fashion last August by Lorenz Larkin was a rude awakening for the Elevation Fight Team member.
As he heads into his UFC 207 fight Friday in Las Vegas against Johny Hendricks, Magny told Champions that he vastly underestimated Larkin in his last outing. “’I’ll just take this guy down and submit him – it will be that easy of a fight,’” Magny remembered thinking.
“But, he came into that fight ready to fight.”
Magny knows he didn’t fight as well as he is capable the last time out, but isn’t making excuses for the defeat. He realized his mistakes and is ready to move on to greater things.
“I overlooked the fight. It was just a bad performance on my end. I can’t sit there and dwell on it for too long,” he continued.
“I won’t make any excuses about it. I just didn’t perform to the best of my abilities and I know that.”
Entering his UFC 207 showdown with Hendricks, Magny is rejecting the notion that “Bigg Rigg” is somehow diminished and less dangerous just because he’s lost three out of his own last four contests. “This is a guy that beat Georges St-Pierre. This is a guy that is a former champion, so I’d be an idiot to overlook him,” he explained.
Magny’s respected image of the former title-holder goes deeper than Hendricks’ best performances. #NeilMagny recounted running into #JohnyHendricks years ago at a Las Vegas bar when the wrestler was world champion.
The experience was immediately sobering for the young contender. “I felt weird – I was like, ‘wait, this guy is the champ of my division [and] I’m sitting here at a bar with him. I shouldn’t be here – I should be training to beat this guy,’” the 29-year-old reflected.
“So, I literally ran back to my hotel room, dress shoes and all…and woke up and trained the next morning.”
Magny became obsessed with outworking a man whose place he coveted. “Just knowing he had what I wanted. He was the guy who was the champ. Being a young fighter in the UFC, that’s what I wanted to be,” he admitted.
“To be at the bar, I knew that’s not how I was going to get there, so I couldn’t be in that environment, knowing what I was trying to accomplish.”
Magny will finally get a chance to put his hard work into practice against Hendricks this Friday. The military veteran still wants what Hendricks has achieved, and is still focused on getting it.
“Beating a former champ puts you right there to start facing the guys in the top-five and getting your shot at the title. So, I know beating Johny Hendricks will do a lot for my career, at this point.”