Magny (26-8 MMA, 19-7 UFC), who is tied with Georges St-Pierre for the most wins in UFC welterweight history, will serve as Rakhmonov’s (15-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) biggest test to date when they meet in a key divisional matchup at the UFC Apex. The main card airs on ESPN following prelims on ESPN2.
Always willing to take on any challenge, Magny said he was happy to accept a fight with Rakhmonov when many others wouldn’t oblige.
“In all reality, there is some hopes and thoughts of fighting up in the rankings and that kind of thing,” Magny told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN 38 media day. “Of course, everyone wants to fight higher up in the rankings each time. But if that’s not available I don’t want to sit around waiting for six, eight, 10 months for the ‘perfect fight.’ So if the next best guy that’s available is ranked No. 15, then so be it. I’ll go out there and make the best of the opportunity.”
Magny said he’s going to lean heavily on experience going into the clash with Rakhmonov. This will be his 28th UFC fight, compared to just four for Rakhmonov. Many of Magny’s fights have come against relevant, high-level opponents, and he’s quite confident all that time in the octagon is going to pay off with a one-sided win that, on paper, would be considered a betting upset.
“Literally every last one of us in the UFC was undefeated at one point or another, then you went out there and faced an absolute beast and was like, ‘Oh damn, there’s different levels to this,'” Magny said. “I look at Shavkat and I think the exact same thing. The guy is talented. He is 15-0. … But at the same time, he hasn’t fought a seasoned vet like me yet. He hasn’t fought the guys that I’ve fought yet. So I’m going to go out there and show him that there’s some levels to this game. That’s my goal.
“It’s going to be a very dominant fight. It just won’t be him dominating. I plan to go out there and dominating this fight from beginning to end.”
Considering Magny stepped up to the plate to fight a very skilled but largely unknown opponent in Rakhmonov, he said there should be a big reward if he gets his hand raised at UFC on ESPN 38.
Magny is still chasing the UFC welterweight title after more than nine years with the promotion, and if he can improve to 6-1 in his past seven fights with this win, he sees no reason he shouldn’t get to fight up in the rankings.
“Ideally, I would love to have a top-five opponent after this fight,” Magny said. “That’s the way it should go. You go out there and have a great performance and you get a high-ranked opponent. That’s how it should go, but the reality of it is, things don’t always go as they should. If I get stuck fighting No. 6 or No. 7 guy, whoever they may be, I’m going to go out there and keep working toward my goal. I’m going to do whatever it takes to become champion.”