Neil Magny believes Khamzat Chimaev chose to face Leon Edwards because it’s a more favorable matchup for him.
After struggling for weeks to find his next opponent, it looks like Chimaev will finally get the ranked opponent he has been craving in Edwards as the pair are set to meet in a welterweight bout that headlines the UFC’s upcoming December 19 show.
For Chimaev, it’s a tremendous step up as his first ranked opponent is the No. 3 welterweight in Edwards who has been calling for a title shot. It was also out of left field as many felt the No. 8 Magny would be the one to face Chimaev.
Magny had been calling out Chimaev for a while with UFC president Dana White even crediting him for being one of the few to offer to step up. Chimaev would also be reciprocative towards a fight but in the end, the promotion ultimately decided to go with Edwards.
And the only reason for that in Magny’s mind, is because Chimaev’s team saw Edwards as an easier matchup.
“The only thing I can possibly think of that caused this fight not to go through is his team thought it was a better matchup for him,” Magny told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
“I’m not going to sit there and toot my own horn and say that fighting the No. 8 guy is a better deal than fighting the No. 3 guy. But I’m pretty sure his team might have thought Leon Edwards was the easier fight for him — he matched up better against Leon Edwards than he would against me.”
Magny: How Much More Do I Have To Call Out Chimaev?
While most observers will point out that any fighter would prefer to face a higher-ranked opponent, Magny believes the fact that “The Wolf” was willing to fight anybody for so long only to not fight him is further proof of his theory.
“It’s just something I’m thinking,” Magny added. “The fact that he was willing to entertain fighting everybody else but me, I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that his team and himself believe the easier matchup for him was Leon Edwards.
“In my opinion, it’s a no-brainer but I think the proof is in the pudding. How much more do I have to say I’ll fight this man for him to step up and take the fight?”
Given what we know of Chimaev, he is undoubtedly bound to reply to Magny on social media soon.
Magny is currently on a three-fight winning streak and is coming off an impressive unanimous decision win over former champion Robbie Lawler in August.
"I think it's pretty obvious at this point that his team and himself believe the easier matchup for him was Leon Edwards."@NeilMagny told @arielhelwani why he believes Khamzat Chimaev opted to fight Edwards and not Magny, who had been campaigning. pic.twitter.com/LsWgD6SX7i
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 28, 2020