ROUNDTABLE: Will Neil Magny make a run up the welterweight division after UFC Fight Night 78 win?

Neil Magny (photo credit Ron Chenoy © USA Today)

Do you think Neil Magny can make a run up the top ten in the welterweight division after his latest win, or is the result of the Demian Maia fight a clear sign of his ceiling? Why?



Would it be mean of me to say that I hope he cannot? I have nothing against Magny as an individual, I’ve just never cared much to watch him fight. I will also concede that his recent outing against Kelvin Gastelum was a great bout, and he has shown some legitimate improvement over his last couple of matches. Coming in against Gastelum on short notice is an impressive feat. Magny has a couple of things going for him, providing him with a natural edge in the Octagon. His 6’3″ frame is huge for a 170 pound fighter, and gives him a reach advantage that he has exploited better as of late. He also has cardio for days, which was one of the big reasons he was able to put on the performance he did with so little prep time.

Magny’s issue begins in his inability to be elite at either striking or wrestling. Gastelum was able to make it a slobber-knocker and land some big shots during the course of their fight which knocked Magny off of his feet. Magny really doesn’t have the power to put people out standing, and Gastelum showed us that if you can close the distance, he’s very vulnerable. Magny also has very solid wrestling, winning several grappling exchanges with Gastelum. He was, however, thoroughly outclassed on the ground by Damian Maia, and I don’t expect him to raise his skill level to that of the top fighters in the division.

Truth is, I see Gastelum as much more of a threat to make a run up the ladder to receive a title shot. The kid is still only 24, and he’s shown very natural striking and submission skills in his young career. Couple this with great wrestling credentials and immense strength and you’ve got the makings of a future top contender. As far as Magny goes, I will concede I didn’t expect him to beat his last two opponents, but I still see his ceiling as somewhere in the 7-10 range. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not a stretch to believe he has higher aspirations.



I think he can make a run. It’ll be hard, but I think he can. The Maia fight should be a wakeup call to him that he needs to up his game. I think he’ll do that. I don’t think he’ll work his way to a title shot or anything, but I think he can start making waves in the division. As long as he approaches every fight like a learning experience and a chance to get better, I think he can keep improving and work his way up the rankings to make the Maia loss a bump in the road instead of a ceiling he can’t break through.



I do fully believe Magny has a ceiling, but that could also be higher than we all could presume at the moment. He’s not going to be a guy we see in the title picture – I feel safe making that assumption – but he could well be a top 7-10 guy who plays that gatekeeper roll and still makes a fortune doing it while putting together a great career. It’s a void that needs to be filled, and it’s not a necessarily unenviable spot to be in. You’ll see him on pay-per-view and Fox cards, I just don’t think he’s going to be a headline guy in those scenarios. He has a fun skill set but he’s not among the elite.



The Maia fight isn’t a sign of his ceiling. It’s an indication of a young fighter who has more to learn. I wouldn’t be able to say that without seeing the strides in his grappling, as he looked fantastic on the ground against Gastelum this past weekend… at least he did over the first three rounds. The improvement Magny has shown over the last two years is incredible, as he was on the verge of being cut and now sits on the verge of the top 10 of the division. After making a run like that in such a short amount of time – when I never would have predicted that in a million years – I won’t be surprised whatsoever to see him continue to improve and make himself a contender.
[Photo (c) Ron Chenoy via USA Today Sports]

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.