Thursday, July 7, 2022

Neil Magny Makes Case For Interim Title In “Stagnant” WW Division

UFC welterweight contender Neil Magny has called for an interim title to be introduced at 170 pounds in the absence of champion Kamaru Usman.

In his most recent appearance, which took place last November at UFC 268, Usman further extended his impressive reign to five defenses with a second victory over rival Colby Covington. Soon after, it emerged that “The Nigerian Nightmare” had broken his right hand three weeks prior to the blockbuster rematch.

Three months on, Usman went under the knife, having surgery to repair compromised ligaments. After the procedure, UFC President Dana White confirmed that top contender Leon Edwards will get his long-awaited title shot when the champion is back to full health.

But while a targeted summer return initially looked likely, the latest word is that Usman may be out of action until towards the end of 2022. With that in mind, some have suggested that an interim title should be introduced, as it has been in the flyweight division following an injury to champion Deiveson Figueiredo.

One top-10 welterweight who has joined the likes of Belal Muhammad in calling for the creation of interim gold is Neil Magny.

During an interview with MMA News’ own James Lynch, “The Haitian Sensation,” who is set to return to action later this month against rising prospect Shavkat Rakhmonov, suggested that the “stagnant” welterweight division needs to keep moving, something it can’t do while Usman is stuck on the sidelines with the belt.

“It’s the problem with the division right now, it’s just so stagnant. Just keep it moving,” said Magny. “It’s unfortunate he got a broken hand. You (Usman) are the pound-for-pound champ, you are the champ of the division. No one’s taking that away from you. But, for the sake of keeping things moving for the rest of the division, I think doing an interim title is the right thing to do.”

When asked which two contenders should have the opportunity to compete for a potential interim strap, Magny told MMA News that Edwards, regarded as the number one contender, and top-five newcomer Khamzat Chimaev should share the Octagon.

“If I had to guess, I would definitely go Leon and Khamzat. I mean, that’s the fight that make the most sense, the fight I think will do the best numbers at this point as well,” said Magny. “If I had to guess, I would say that would be definitely the fight to make.”

Catch our exclusive interview with UFC welterweight Neil Magny below:

Edwards vs. Chimaev has been somewhat of a cursed matchup up to now. The pair were first set to meet in the main event of a December 2020 UFC Fight Night. After the bout was canceled owing to both men suffering from COVID-19, it was re-arranged for the next month.

On the second attempt, the lingering effects from the virus forced “Borz” out once again, a fate that befell the pairing for a third time last March. While it’s not quite Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson level of cursed just yet, it’s only a couple of failed attempts away.

Do you agree with Neil Magny? Should the UFC introduce an interim welterweight title?

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