Exclusive: Neil Magny Thinks Leon Edwards Is On A ‘Victory Lap’: ‘He’s Not Looking At The Next Mountain’

Magny reads Edwards' demeanor during his title reign and talks about 'Rocky's' next opponent.

Edwards Victory Lap
(via @leonedwardsmma - Instagram)

Neil Magny believes Leon Edwards is ‘taking a breath’ after finally touching UFC gold.

The UFC Welterweight Champion was crowned at UFC 278, where he racked up a headkick KO of the long-reigning Kamaru Usman. In Edwards’ first title defense, he’d defeat Usman again, this time by unanimous decision in his backyard of England.

Since fighting in March, Edwards hasn’t exactly been rushing to his next fight – opting out of another headliner at home for July 22 and ruling out his return until October in Abu Dhabi instead. 

Magny’s ‘Perspective’ On The Champion

Magny, a UFC welterweight since 2013, gives his impression of how Edwards is handling his title reign.

“This isn’t me hating on the guy, I hope I’m wrong at the end of the day. When I look at Leon, I look at him winning the belt. I kind of feel like, because it was such a long road that he took to get there, had to go on a nine-fight win streak, had to fight guys that weren’t ranked, had to fight guys that were ranked, get fights that were scheduled, canceled, and had all this stuff go on. For him to finally get to the point like ‘man, I won the belt’, I think that he’s kind of taking a breath, so to speak, taking a victory lap where it’s like, ‘phew I made it. I’m here, I’m good’,” Magny told Middle Easy. 

I haven’t been there yet, so this is all hypothetical: in my perspective, I would think that when you become a champion, when you become ranked top 10, top five, top whatever it is, when you reach those new markets in your life, in your career, it’s not, ‘whoa, I made it and you kick my feet up and relax’ kind of thing. It’s like, ‘hell yeah, I made it. And then you look up, it’s like, cool, there’s more work to be done’ kind of thing.

“When I look at Leon, I think he’s more so in the mindset or position where it’s like, hell yeah, I’m a champ, I made it’ and that’s the highest mountain he was trying to climb. He’s not looking at the next mountain necessarily is the vibe that he gives off when I look at him in his demeanor.”

While he believes this, Magny hopes Edwards shows him this isn’t the case.

“But like I said, I hope I’m completely wrong and this is just me talking out of thin air kind of thing. I just feel like he’s settling in like ‘I did it, it’s done, move on to the next thing’ kind of thing. I hope that’s not the case. I hope he’s actually still motivated, fired up to go out there and like, ‘alright, lemme see how I can defend this title, see if can catch up to GSP’s record with title wins’, that kind of thing. But, who knows? I guess time will tell.”

Welterweight Title Politics

Magny also had something to say about the champ’s next challenger, which is confirmed to be Colby Covington. There has been criticism on ‘Chaos’ getting the next title shot, especially not having fought since March 2021 where he decisioned Jorge Masvidal.  

‘The Haitian Sensation’ gave his two cents on the matter. 

“Do I think he did enough to win it? Like, there is an argument that can made for everybody,” Magny continued. “An argument can be made for Belal [Muhammad], an argument can be made for Kamaru versus Leon Edwards, the fourth fight. There can be so many matches made in the division. But at the end of the day, the thing that we all have to accept and realize like yeah, your rank does mean something, but at the end of the day, this is also a business as well.

“I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if Masvidal would go out there and fight [Edwards] off of a loss. Just at the end of the day, it’s one of those things where like, yes, this is about competition and who’s better in ranking and all that other stuff, but you can’t dismiss the fact that it’s also business that we have to look at. Who’s gonna be able to sell the fight… and all the other stuff.”

‘Covington Might Be That Guy…’

Colby Covington has proven his ability to sell a fight, bringing us very promotional antics that make for good TV. Magny believes it will be more of the same, his next time out against Leon Edwards.

“I feel like personally Colby Covington might be that guy to go out there against Leon Edwards and really help promote that fight to make a big fight for the welterweight division.”

Published on May 29, 2023 at 8:58 pm
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