UFC on ESPN+ 33 started with four submissions, ended with six clear decisions. Two of the most dependably exciting figures in the sport, Robbie Lawler and Anthony Smith, did not thrill the fans. However, in the post-fight interview, Neil Magny argued credibly that it wasn't that Lawler was bad, it was that he, Magny, fought so well.
“Coming in the gameplan was stay real active on the outside, force him to throw heavy shots, make him miss,” said Magny to Paul Felder. “And as soon as he does clinch him up and get him to the ground and go for the submission.”
“It’s definitely a feather in my cap beating a legend like Robbie Lawler. This guy’s done amazing things in the sport through his time here and it was literally an honor to go out and face him tonight. Feels good to actually be able to execute a gameplan and come out victorious like a guy like Robbie Lawler.”
“When he was the champion, I was one of the fighters in a group to potentially fight him. It was me, Demian Maia, and Carlos Condit at the time. So I knew what I was capable [of] against a guy like Robbie Lawler, it was just frustrating that it took so long to finally get that fight. And the thing that goes with a fight like that now is everyone wants to say ‘Oh, well he’s past his prime, he fought too late, he fought bad.’ No, I fought well. I went out there and did what I knew I could do against a guy like Robbie Lawler whether it was tonight or five years ago.”
The win pushed Magny's wins in the UFC welterweight division to 17, just two behind division GOAT Georges St-Pierre's 19.
“Leading up to this week I was being put into categories with guys like Matt Hughes and Georges St-Pierre,” said Magny. “And here tonight fighting Robbie Lawler, I’m doing the right things and going in the right direction. It’s only a matter of time before I’m considered a world champion — am a world champion!”
“I’m right there for top ten. Any of those guys that are ready to go, let’s not waste a lot of time here. We got plenty of more months left in the year. Let’s get me another fight this year and make a run for the title.”
“It’s one of those weird things in MMA right now, everybody feels entitled to fight certain people and that kind of thing,” said Magny as the post-fight press conference. “I honestly do not care. If I have to fight number 1 through 10 in order to get a title shot, I’m ready and willing to do that. Just line ‘em up, I’m ready to go.”
Who do you want to see Magny fight next UG?