Ronda Rousey will be back in the cage for the first time in over a year on Friday.
That’s a sentence you’ll likely never read about Neil Magny.
While Rousey will be the focus of attention at UFC 207 in Las Vegas after a long layoff, Magny continues to be one of the UFC’s most active fighters. He’ll face former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks in the featured preliminary bout on Fox Sports 1.
“I’m a guy that’s a workhorse,” Magny told Newsday. “Everybody gets better by being in the gym often and by fighting so often it gives me a purpose to be in the gym so I’m constantly working on getting better.”
Magny (18-5, 11-4 UFC) has developed a reputation as one of the sport’s busiest fighters since joining the UFC in 2013, when he and Rousey both debuted at UFC 157. Friday’s main event will be Rousey’s eighth bout in the UFC. Magny’s fight will be No. 16 with the promotion.
“If I can get in there four-or-five times a year I’m great with that,” Magny said. “It’s just so many opportunities to get better, so much for me to learn from and become the best fighter I can be.”
Magny’s penchant for quick fights didn’t start when he made it to the UFC. Upon turning professional in 2010, the Brooklyn native had four wins under his belt within four months, including two in a two-week span.
“With every fight that I have, whether it’s short notice or a full camp, it gives my coaches and I enough to break down the things that I’m working and see what I need to improve,” Magny said.
While some might be wary of taking too many fights for fear of injury, Magny believes staying active is an important part of a successful career, especially in a sport with as much uncertainty as MMA.
“The life of a fighter is something that’s not guaranteed, and no one knows how long it could be,” Magny said. “So if there’s an opportunity to go out there and fight as often as possible and stay as healthy as possible as well, I’d love to take advantage.
“I can be one of those guys who fights five times a year and retires at 35 or one of those guys who fights two times a year and still has to retire at 32. I don’t know for sure how it’s going to happen.”
Magny, who trains with Elevation Fight Team at the MusclePharm facility in Denver, doesn’t think he’s putting himself at any greater risk for injury by fighting more often. In fact, he believes the opposite.
“A lot guys actually get injured in training more than they do in the fight. There are a lot of injuries that you sustain in training before you even get out to the fight, even concussions,” Magny said. “There are plenty of times that you’re in training you get hit a little bit harder that day than you’re used to and it has a long-term effect on you. Most guys think, no no no, you get hurt fighting often and that’s not the case at all for a lot of guys.”
This will be Magny’s third fight of 2016, a quiet year by his standard. In both 2014 and 2015, he made the walk to the cage five times, amassing a 9-1 record over that stretch.
After opening his 2016 with a win over Hector Lombard in March, Magny fell in August to Lorenz Larkin, an opponent he admits to taking lightly. Still, a victory against Hendricks could have Magny on the verge of a title run in 2017.
“This fight is huge, this is the fight I’ve been training for and going for for a while,” Magny said. “In order to get a chance at the champion, you have to work your way up there and there’s no better stepping stone than Johny Hendricks. He’s the guy that a lot of people think beat Georges St-Pierre.”
Magny plans to use a “relentless pace” and “fight a non-stop fight” to get the win over the former champion. If that works, he’s already eyeing a spot at UFC 208 at Barclays Center, scheduled for Feb. 11 in his hometown.
Said Magny, “As soon as I’m handed the mike after this win, it’s the first thing that I’m asking for.”