Neil Magny didn’t hesitate to accept a fight against Robbie Lawler after their original opponent Geoff Neal suffered a life-threatening health scare.
“Dude, I was super excited,” Magny told MMANews. “I mean, when Sean Shelby gave me a call or sent the message over, it was a no brainer for me. Like there wasn’t even a point where I have to call coaches and get clarity, like that was just an automatic ‘Yes’. To be able to fight a former world champion, a guy who’s most of the division fear, this is the kind of fight that gets me excited.”
Magny (23-7) heads into this matchup off back-to-back victories, most recently defeating Anthony Rocco Martin by decision at UFC 250 in June. Both Lawler and Magny trainined together in the past, so there is plenty of respect ahead of this August 29 matchup.
“I feel like I match up against (Lawler) pretty well,” Magny said. “I mean he’s a guy I used to train with when I started in MMA. So seeing how his career has progressed over the last 10-years and how my career progressed the last 10-years, I feel like we match up well. Robbie Lawler actually owned a gym that I trained at in college. Him and Matt Hughes purchased the H.I.T Squad when I (started).”
While he was only 19-years old at the time, Magny vividly remembers what the training was like back then and said it lead him on the path of becoming a full-time fighter.
“I mean, the training back then was tough,” Magny explained. “A 19-year-old kid getting to spar a guy like Robbie Lawler. It was a real eye-opener for me. Those are the sessions where it really made me question whether or not this is what I wanted to do for a living or not. Passing that test against Robbie Lawler back in the day gave me the confidence like ‘You know what? I’m ready to fight for the UFC. I’m ready to make this my career ready go all in for it.’ So I’m actually grateful for that experience that I had back in the day.”
UFC Fight Night takes place on Aug. 29 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Former light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith faces Aleksander Rakic in the main event.