Magny has fought the who’s who at 170 pounds, with notable wins over former title challengers Kelvin Gastelum and Carlos Condit, as well as former UFC welterweight champions Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler.
But with most of those victories coming against stars who were on losing streaks, the validity of those wins have at times been questioned, which irks Magny (24-8 MMA, 17-7 UFC). Though Neal (13-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC) is coming off a loss to former two-time title challenger Stephen Thompson, he remains a dangerous top contender.
“At this point, it’s more about me redeeming myself and doing the things that I know I’m capable of doing,” Magny told MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s media day at the UFC Apex. “It just so happened that Geoff’s the guy that I get to go out there and fight next. I have a lot of respect for him as a competitor. He’s done a lot of good things in the sport so far. Up until the fight with Stephen Thompson, he was undefeated in the UFC, so to be able to go out there and test myself against an up-and-comer like that, I’m kind of excited about it.
“As dominant as my last couple of wins have been, everyone likes to put an asterisk on it like, ‘Oh yeah, Neil dominated Robbie Lawler, but Robbie Lawler is on the backside of his career,’ so it’s like give me these up-and-coming guys that you guys want to see in the top 10, top five and let me face them in their prime so there’s no asterisk, there’s no second guessing, there’s no ‘maybe he beat this guy because he was past his prime’ or anything like that. I can hang with the best in the world, so that’s what I’m going to go out there and do.”
Magny admits that he didn’t necessarily get the best form of Lawler when he beat him in August, which is why he’s eager to show that he can top the surging prospects at 170 pounds.
“I could definitely feel like all right, you know what, maybe the guy is a little different,” Magny said. “But to go out there and prove myself is what I want to do. I want to go out there and fight the best guys in their best state. I want to beat them in their prime, and that allows me to feel better about my accomplishments and my wins, as well.”
UFC on ESPN 24 takes place at the UFC Apex. The main card airs on ESPN following prelims on ESPN+.
To see the full interview with Magny, check out the video above.