Neil Magny headed into UFC 190 earlier this month with a seven fight win streak and hopes of a title fight in the near future. He left the event with a submission loss to former world title challenger Demian Maia and his momentum stalled.
Magny isn't happy with losing but the moment did give him opportunity to reflect. "Once the fight was over, there was nothing that I could have done. It was a learning experience. I talked to my coach about mistakes I made, for the future," he tells FOX Sports.
"It also helped me in another way. I had gotten to the point where I was thinking too far ahead. I was almost looking past my opponent. Now, I'm focused on what is in front of me."
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Having something in front of him to focus on likely helps with that goal. On Sunday, Magny steps in on very short notice after just having fought several weeks ago to take on Erick Silva on Saskatoon, Canada at UFC Fight Night.
When Magny got the call, he had already been back in the gym. Once he and his coaches quickly discussed the match up, they decided it was the right move to make.
"Last Monday I was walking out of the gym after wrestling practice and saw that I had a missed call from [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva," he remembers.
"So, I headed back inside the gym and called him back. He offered me the fight, asked the coach what he thought. He asked me when the fight was, I told him the 23rd, and he said, 'it's a good match up, let's do it.' It was a fight we'd talked about before. I felt great mentally and physically. The fight itself [against Maia] wasn't one of those fights where I got punched a lot and thrown around, so damage wasn't an issue. I took some time off after the fight, then got busy again."
Magny insists that he wasn't desperate to get back into the Octagon simply because he had just lost, and explains that he and his coaches really just believe that the fight with Silva is a good look for them. The fact that Silva himself has said that he is upset to have to be fighting Magny instead of the originally-scheduled Rick Story may lend credence to their assertion.
Silva certainly has real ground skills, but he's known as a powerful striker on the feet, first and foremost. Magny, on the other hand, excels at smothering opponents, taking them down, and finishing them on the ground.
While Silva has given Magny some credit, he has insinuated that he believes Story is a more well-rounded fighter than the Dolton, IL native. Whether or not his opponent is looking past him doesn't much concern Magny, however.
"I definitely don't care," he laughs.
"If he overlooks me, that's a mistake on his part, and he probably shouldn't be. This short-notice situation is probably going to work in my favor. Rick Story and I are two totally different fighting styles. Towards the end of a camp there are not many guys Silva could have brought in to imitate my pace and my range. It's going to be harder for him to adjust to me. As for me, I have the same kind of game plan for every opponent. My style doesn't change from opponent to opponent. I stay active and react."