Neil Magny is open to fighting Khamzat Chimaev, but the 33-year-old welterweight veteran certainly isn’t interested in waiting around for the Chechen fighter.
Following his victory over Geoff Neal on Saturday night in Las Vegas, Magny was called out by Chimaev. It wasn’t the first time the two have exchanged words over social media, and a fight between the two could make sense moving forward.
However, the 27-year-old Chimaev, who debuted in the UFC last July and quickly gained attention after scoring three-straight stoppage victories, hasn’t competed since September 2020. Since then, he’s had to pull out of multiple fights due to complications from COVID-19. And while he plans to return to action later this year, his future is still very much unclear.
So while it’s a fight that Neil Magny would accept, he isn’t willing to hold up his career to wait for it.
“I’m at this point where Khamzat is this great competitor,” Magny said at the UFC on ESPN 24 post-fight news conference (via MMAJunkie). “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. 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. 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.”
While a fight against the rising Chimaev would certainly bring him a lot of attention, Magny, who’s won four of his last five bouts and six of his last eight, is primarily focused on climbing the ranks and earning a 170-pound title shot. With that in mind, he’s only focused on fights that will get home closer to that goal.
If that means fighting Chimaev, that works for Magny, but he also knows that time won’t always be on his side and that he needs to take advantage of his success before it’s too late.
“At the end of the day, the title shot and becoming a UFC champion is the end goal. But I have to be realistic about the path I take to get there,” Magny said. “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 No. 1 goal at this point.”
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.