"All the hard work is finally paying off. I’ve really been putting in a ton of hard work to improve as a fighter and what I’ve been able to do in 2014 really shows that." - Neil Magny
Winning streaks are difficult to come by at the top level of MMA, and Neil Magny has earned every step of his.
The Ultimate Fighter season 16 alum has had an incredible campaign in 2014 as he’s found victory in all four of his showings in the calendar year. While four wins in a year would be enough for most fighters to stop and appreciate, the 26-year-old Colorado transplant isn’t done yet. He’s going into territory few of his peers have traveled and will get his fifth fight within a 12-month period. Furthermore, he will tie a benchmark if he’s successful in getting his fifth consecutive win in 2014, and it will make an impressive statement in the process.
“All the hard work is finally paying off,” Magny said. “I’ve really been putting in a ton of hard work to improve as a fighter and what I’ve been able to do in 2014 really shows that. I had a rough patch last year and it made me question if I should even be doing this or not. But after taking a step back, I knew this was what I wanted to do and I was going to get back in the gym with more effort and belief than ever before. I kept working hard and one thing led to another. Now, here I am with a four-fight winning streak and I have another one lined up with a chance to make it five straight.”
Magny’s initial steps out of the gate into the competitive waters of the welterweight division were rough, and he found victory in only one of his first three showings. But that was last year. The Team Elevation fighter has since found his rhythm, and the results have shown inside the Octagon. Through each of the fights on his current winning streak Magny has shown an ever-improving striking game and a growing confidence to mix things up.
He’s not the fighter he was on TUF, nowhere even close. Magny in his current form is a fighter who pushes forward with confidence once the cage door closes, and is making solid progress up the welterweight ranks because of it.
“I feel like I’ve been blessed with the right people at the right time,” Magny said. “At various times my coaches have stepped in and told me what I can do better and what I need to improve on and things like that. Nate Marquardt has been a great help with my progression. He’s a great training partner and he always has good things to add after training. He’ll tell me I had a great session, but then show me some key things I could implement to improve my game. He will let me enjoy the moment but then remind me that my journey is not yet over and there are things that need improvement.”
While he is making strong moves up a talent-stacked divisional hierarchy of the 170-pound fold, Magny is also a realist. He understands the progress he’s made hasn’t knocked down the doors where the coveted top 10-ranked fighters sit behind, and that’s just fine with him.
Magny is willing to take his time moving up the ladder because he knows his game is still acquiring crucial elements and the one thing working in a gym can’t create….experience.
He’s getting tough fights on the sport’s biggest stage and right now that is enough for him.
“I definitely feel I’m making a statement, but at the same time, I’m not out there saying ‘look at me, I’m Neil Magny and I’m next in line for a title shot.’ But I definitely feel I’m showing people that they should keep an eye on me and see where I go in a year from now. My focus and dedication for fighting is better than it’s ever been and 2014 is evidence of that. Originally my goal was to get back into the win column, and once I put a few of those wins together it was time to make different goals. I’m not going to be screaming for a title shot because I’m not there just yet. I haven’t put in the time or fought the guys that would put me in line for a title shot. A top 15 ranking would be more realistic for me to reach in the next few months or so and then start working my way toward top 10.”
Although four victories under his belt this year have brought Magny on the fast track to recognition, a potential fifth win could do big things for the New York native. He will square off with William Macario when the Octagon returns to Brazil for UFC 179 on October 25 in Rio de Janeiro.
While his first trip to the birthplace of MMA didn’t yield the results he had sought, Magny will return to Brazil with confidence as he goes into his tilt with Macario. He knows his opponent is a proven threat inside the Octagon, but he’s eager to test himself against the rising Brazilian prospect.
“I’m honestly excited for this fight and to return to Brazil,” Magny said. “My first trip down there I didn’t compete well or show them my best and I let the whole atmosphere and traveling abroad thing get to me. It affected how I performed and I’m much more prepared now than I was then. I’m ready to go out there and show my improvement.
“The crowd in Brazil is definitely different. They have all types of chants they yell out before, during and after your fight. I can’t understand most of it anyways so that doesn’t affect me. But the overall being in Brazil and fighting in front of that crowd won’t affect me this time around since I’ve already been there and been through it once. I know what to expect and I believe I’m much more prepared for it this time around than I was before.”