Neil Magny admits that with Khamzat Chimaev, he bit off more than he could chew.
Over the past couple of years as Chimaev has risen up the welterweight ranks, Magny has been perhaps the most vocal 170-pounder calling for a fight with “Borz.” Despite his repeated efforts though, Magny has yet to get his opportunity. But this past November, Magny did get the chance to train with Chimaev for a session — and things did not go well for him, with a video coming out showing Chimaev dominating Magny with relative ease.
While short training clips like that often don’t tell the whole story, Magny admits that he really did have a tough time with Chimaev.
“We had an opportunity to train with him in New York, and he is certainly the real deal,” Magny stated on The MMA Hour . “The best way I can explain it is like, I f***** around and found out. Khamzat has the best reputation.
” I went into there thinking “Oh, here is this sweet little Wolf that I can train in Jiu-jitsu with,” but then it got really real. The guy has many hats, but it was more obvious that he is the real deal. He’s not a fighter or fight I can take lightly at all. To be honest, if I had won that fight earlier, it would have been a disaster. I am trying to look past him .”
Magny explained that the session happened by chance. Both men were in New York at the time and decided to go to the Renzo Gracie Academy for some training. Magny was persistently seeking a fight and Chimaev has a history of having run-ins at the gym with potential rivals. It could have been disastrous, Magny said.
“Initially there wasn’t any tense moments at all, it was just an opportunity where it was like, ‘I’m here to train, you’re here to train,’ it was very respectful, going through the motions, not super competitive,” Magny said.
“But that escalated very quickly. It went from that to a full on grappling match, getting slammed, all this kind of crazy stuff. So yeah, it definitely escalated quickly there.”
But while that escalation ended poorly for Magny, he’s not hiding from it. Magny is ranked No. 12 ranked welterweight in the UFC rankings has no illusions about what happened that day, but that doesn’t mean he still doesn’t want to fight Chimaev, nor does it mean he thinks he can’t beat him.
“There’s a video out there so I can’t even deny it, he definitely got the best of me that training session,” Magny said. “Like I said, I f***** around and found out, and I definitely found out the hard way. ‘Oh yeah, sweet little wolf, here we go, we’re just playing around,’ and that wolf definitely bit, and I was like, ‘Oh crap, I was not expecting that.’
“I could make excuses at the end of each day. “Oh, I didn’t give it my best, maybe this, or maybe the fact he was larger,” I could list a million reasons that the training session did not go my way, but it didn’t. That gave me some perspective. You got some serious s*** to do.
“I’ll never be one of those guys to sit there and be like, ‘Oh, my opponent got lucky, this happened,’ or blame [anything]. It’s not something I can excuse. He definitely got the best of me that day, but I know that’s not the end of it. I am confident that I possess a lot more than I demonstrated on the day. It’s up to me now to prove it.
Before Magny can get a crack at Chimaev though, first he has another top-ranked opponent to take care of as this Saturday he fights former title challenger Gilbert Burns in the featured welterweight fight at UFC 283.