In the lead up to and straight after Neil Magny’s fight with Geoff Neal at UFC on ESPN 24 last Saturday, Khamzat Chimaev was doing his best to try and get a fight booked with “The Haitian Sensation.”
@NeilMagny Don’t lose on purpose Saturday so you don’t have to fight me August. @danawhite
— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) May 6, 2021
Magny successfully rebounded from his January defeat to Michael Chiesa by besting the dangerous Neal over three rounds, taking a unanimous decision victory.
Chimaev immediately took to Twitter to try and make the fight happen.
@NeilMagny you’re fighting me next. Don’t run like chicken We will see who slaps who in the cage @danawhite
— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) May 9, 2021
In the post-fight press conference, Magny was asked about the Dagestan mauler as talk of this matchup builds. His answer? He is happy to fight “Borz” but only if he doesn’t have to wait all that long for it to happen.
“I’m at this point where Khamzat is this great competitor. I can definitely fight him and propel my career forward. But at the same time, I can’t put my career and life on hold to hope that he’s better,” Magny said at the presser. [H/T MMA Junkie] “The guy has pulled out of three fights over the last few months. So for me to kind of put all my eggs in one basket and wait for him and hope that he’s ready this summer, it’s just foolish on my end.
“I think if he prioritises getting healthy and can actually complete a camp and show up to a fight, then sure, that’s a fight that I’m definitely interested in. But as far as putting my life on hold for him, I have things that I want to accomplish and time is not my best friend at this point, so I can’t wait around for him.”
Those points about Chimaev’s health is alluding to his struggles with recovering from COVID-19. Chimaev withdrew from his booked bout with Leon Edwards on two occasions due to feeling the effects of the coronavirus – something that has prevented him from training and even saw him prematurely announce his retirement from mixed martial arts.
Chimaev is reportedly in better shape these days and that coincides with him hunting after a fight with Magny.
But for Magny, his focus is on taking the kind of fights that gets him closer to the UFC welterweight title picture. It’s arguable that a win over the unranked but highly-hyped Chimaev doesn’t do that for Magny, but it would certainly be a big fight that would bring him a lot of attention.
“At the end of the day, the title shot and becoming a UFC champion is the end goal. But I have to be realistic about the path I take to get there,” Magny said. “I’m one injury away from never fighting again. I’m one opportunity away from never fighting again.
“So I have to be cautious of that and be aware of that. I do have a son to provide for, so thoughts do cross my mind when it comes to how long I’m sitting around and waiting for my next fight. At the end of the day, the gold belt would be great. But providing for my family is my No. 1 goal at this point.”