- Neil Magny discussed his thoughts on fighting a friend and training partner in Phil Rowe
- “The Haitian Sensation” made a bold admission about his previous loss to Gilbert Burns
UFC welterweight veteran Neil Magny will try and get back to his winning ways when he faces Phil Rowe at UFC on ABC 5 next month. Ahead of the fight, “The Haitian Sensation” opened up about his rejuvenated and motivated mindset.
Fighting Phil is a bit awkward
In an exclusive interview with Middle Easy, Magny admitted that at some point, there’s awkwardness about his next fight given he and Rowe used to be training partners. On the hand, Magny said the good part is that he knew Rowe wouldn’t come up with anything that he hasn’t seen before.
“This is an exciting matchup Rowe was a tough gritty dude like I actually know him personally,” Magny said. “I know how hard he trains, I know how much better he gets time and time again, I know how skilled he is in boxing and Jiu Jitsu so it’s a it’s a very exciting matchup. For me, it was on those matches like ‘This is who you want me to fight? There’s no one else? There’s like 200 welterweights and this you guys want me to fight?”
“I’m a fan of Phil Rowe,” he continued. “I want to see him progress in the UFC and all that kind of stuff. So to potentially be the guy that’s like standing in his way sort of thing, I didn’t necessarily like that dynamic and that might get awkward but at the end of the day it’s the fight.”
“I mean there’s nothing I haven’t seen before, I’m also impressed with how he’d persevered throughout his career I mean to go from being, I think 0-2 when he first started to going on a crazy win streak, getting signed into UFC and getting this record is definitely something that’s impressive but as far as a competitor it’s nothing I haven’t seen before there’s nothing I’m not a familiar with. I mean I’m faced the Hector Lombards, basically all the knockout artists that were there before him kind of thing… Is he a great athlete? Yes. Is he a tough athlete? Yes. Is it something to have to like be overly concerned with one side or the other? Not necessarily,” he added.
Magny also pointed out that his experience will be an advantage over Rowe but he will make sure that he still relies on his best skills.
“I have over 30 fights under the UFC banner alone so it’s a lot easier for you to do your homework and think like okay cool, is he gonna fight like this or is he gonna fight like that,” Magny explained… “There are some strengths that you have that you have to bring to the fight and you can’t get so caught up in like in game plan and this and that and you forget to fight your best fight and use your best attributes. So for me to go out there and not use my best skill sets, regardless of the pressure out there on me, we’re coming to myself with this service so I didn’t have to keep that in the back of my mind and be aware of the fact that like I base these guys time and time again I’ve been successful time and time again. Don’t get too far away from who I am as a fighter and what it has brought me here thus far.”
A Lesson Learned
Magny is coming off one of the most devastating defeats of his UFC career. At UFC 283, No. 5 welterweight contender Gilbert Burns submitted him in the first round via arm triangle choke.
Heading into the showdown with Rowe, Magny confessed that he wasn’t at his best mentally when he faced “Durinho” and he wouldn’t do the same thing this time around.
“For me, I think the biggest thing in that fight is just the mental preparation and where I am mentally going into the fight,” Magny said of losing to Burns. “And it’s not taking it away from Burns, he’s great fighter, he’s a great competitor. He went out there and did his thing but if I would look at that fight and look at where I can improve, where I can grow, what I can do better or differently in that fight, it was 100% the mental approach going into that fight. There’s always going to be some kind of baggage outside of the Octagon you have to deal with every single fight. So learn how to compartmentalize those things and put myself in a great headspace to go out there and compete is going to be the key.”
“I think that the fight with Gilbert Burns is like going out the way that I did the opportunity where I was at my career and what that fight would have done for me, definitely kind of jump started that and forced me to go out there and figure it out figure out how to compartmentalize and put things in order to go out there and be your best,” he added.
Rowe is coming in unranked and hoping to break his way into the Top 15 of the welterweight division. Magny, who is currently the No. 11 contender in the division, doesn’t think much about it, but he is laser-focused to prove that he is still worthy of facing the higher-ranked fighters.
“That point is motivating,” Magny said of the rankings. “It kind of comes to the territory I mean they’ll be one of those guys that breaks away and gets back being a contender, I’m doing those guys it kind of sits where I’m at now. So for me the motivation 100% going out there and proving that I want to fight a top-10 guy, I want to fight a top-five guy. I want to get closer to those high contenders or whatever so for me it’s the same mindset going out there whether the guy is ranked or unranked or the guys number five or number 15, it does make a difference to me at all. It’s more so about me going out there and showcasing my skill set, my growth and where I’m at as an athlete.”
The fight will be a make-or-break for both Magny and Rowe. In Magny’s case, a defeat could ultimately see him dropping down to an undesirable spot. Rowe, meanwhile, could finally take a step closer to the top with a win, considering he has gone unbeaten in his last three fights, all via TKO.