There are some people who are off-put by the massive push the UFC has given Khamzat Chimaev after less than one full year in the promotion. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson even went so far as to say that the way the UFC’s decision to book Chimaev against the #3-ranked welterweight in the world is a slap in the face to other fighters who have had to claw their way up the ranks more gradually.
But ranked welterweight Neil Magny is in full support of Chimaev’s push and believes that it is no different than a hot prospect in other major sports who elevates the brand they compete under, which in turn helps everyone.
“I think these are the moments and these are the shifts that are going to allow our sport to be more comparable to other sports like basketball or football where these younger guys, these rookies are able to get these huge contracts early on and kind of raise the pay status for all the athletes that are under that particular banner,” Magny told MMA Fighting. “You have guys coming fresh out of high school, fresh out of college that are able to go play for the NBA, for the NFL and they’re able to play against some of the best guys that have been in the league for five, six, 10 years plus for some of these guys.
“It’s either you can hang with those guys or you don’t. I think bringing fresh blood, a fresh face like Chimaev in the UFC helps everyone across the board. Not just him, not just the seasoned fighters, but all the other fighters that come after him as well.”
Khamzat Chimaev Making Way For Future Stars?
Neil Magny was eager to be the ranked welterweight who determined whether or not Khamzat Chimaev had what it took to dance with the best welterweights in the promotion, but the UFC decided to go another direction, selecting Leon “Rocky” Edwards to be Chimaev’s first main event opponent instead. But when Magny assesses what Chimaev’s push means for the sport, he is not only considering what it means for today’s peers of Chimaev like himself but how it creates more lucrative opportunities for the next generation of fighters to benefit from.
“It raises the standard, it raises the bar for new fighters coming into the UFC,” Magny said. “Right now, it’s kind of standard that most fighters coming into the UFC get that contract at [$10,000 to show and $10,000 to win] and depending on how their fights go, they’re able to advance from there.
“But if guys like Chimaev are able to come to the UFC and make big waves and make that pay jump to [$20,000 to show, $20,000 to win] or whatever it may be, I think that’s a positive for everybody.”
Do you agree with Neil Magny’s take on Khamzat Chimaev’s push?