MMA Wreckage hit the ever popular “Addicted to The UFC” Facebook group to get questions from you the fans to ask UFC welterweight fighter Neil Magny. The emerging and constantly active fighter answered your questions about his career, time in the military and experience at the Demian Maia seminar. MMA Wreckage picked 10 out of the literally hundreds of questions and we would like to thank you the fans for participating! Neil was fantastic with his responses which are just ahead. Be on the lookout for another fighter fan Q&A in the future!
Whose one fighter you’d love to fight past or present. And who’s your favorite fighter to watch?
Honestly there is no one in particular. For me it’s always been about fighting the best guy possible. I know that constantly changes like at one point Demian Maia was my biggest fight so far. Even though it didn’t go my way I was able to learn so much from him and even did a seminar with the guy. He helped me out with some things that I messed up on in my Kelvin Gastelum fight. So there is not one particular fighter that I want to fight more than the other it’s just a constant learning curve for me.
When did you first know you wanted to be a professional fighter? What was your first motivating factors when you started your career ?
When I first started doing martial arts I was in high school. I was competing in football, wrestling and track. Then I walked into Miguel Torres gym and I was just trying to get an idea of what was going on. I would be like “hey what are you guys doing over there?” Which was mixed martial arts and they were teaching kickboxing and jiu jitsu. I ended up sparring with Miguel Torres and he chipped my tooth. From that moment on I was like man I want to learn how to do that. So just from staying consistent at it I’ve gotten real good at doing it and have been fortune to make a career for it. So when I decided to do this full time is when I was in college by St. Louis and that’s the time when Matt Hughes opened up Hit Squad with Robbie Lawler and a couple other guys so. So when I started training there and I was seeing guys in the UFC, it motivated me to train more and go after it.
Which do you consider more challenging, your time in the military or your time in the UFC?
They both have different things that make it difficult. For me my time in the military just constantly like worrying about when I was being deployed, where was I going. With the UFC it was more self pressure like am I going to be good enough, or the fastest, the one who sticks out to the fans to keep my job things like that. It’s just like a totally different pressure for the military I didn’t have a chance to mess it up and try again. If I messed up one time could have been dead. But the UFC has that pressure of just constantly never wanting to have to climb back up the ladder. You never want to take that chance to screw things up so you are always staying on your toes and being on top of everything.
What do you feel is the hardest part of coming up in the UFC and becoming a household name?
I think the biggest part of my career in the UFC is the fact there is so many names with the welterweight division it has the highest turn over rate in the UFC. So it’s really hard to make a name for yourself and break through and a lot of guys have to be worried about the pay as well. It’s just a difficult balance In the beginning you can’t let it affect you too much because you have to take advice. At the same time you have bills to pay that are constantly coming up that makes it an even tougher balance. You got guys like Sage Northcutt who are makes a decent amount for fighting but a lot of guys have to start at 8/8 and just keep pushing to make a name for themselves. I fought so often because I needed to climb the ranks I knew it was all about opportunity and stay as consistent as possible to become one of those guys within the UFC so now I have done that. But in the beginning it’s really hard to get there and put your foot in the door to get things going for yourself.
David J Riera
How do you think Bruce Lee would do at today’s mma ?
I think he would be great because one of the biggest things about mixed martial arts is the mindset and Bruce Lee was one of those guys who was constantly bettering himself. So I’m sure if he came in as just a striker he would try his hardest to evolve as a wrestler and on the ground as a jiu jitsu guys as well. I just think his mindset alone would be great in the sport.
Robert Ante Roncevic
Neil, you are one of the most active fighters in the UFC. Do you believe that you can stay as active in 2016 as you have in these past years?
Of course I would love to stay as active as I was in the past. The biggest thing for me is the damage I take in my training and in my fights. I’m pretty fortunate to not have so many fights where I’m getting knocked down or bleeding from cuts from being banged up. So I’m just fortunate not to take so much damage from my fights so if i can continue that same way and continue that towards a title shot I would be happy to do do that but for me it’s all about opportunity and damage at this point.
Can you explain the difference in training/preparation/mindset when taking a fight on short notice verse having a full training camp?
Ha one of the things that is a difference is sparring five rounds in the gym is nothing like fighting five rounds in the UFC. With the weight cut, with the pressure, things like that It definitely takes a toll on your body. That’s something that I definitely didn’t realize when taking the five round fight. I do feel like I need more time to prepare for something like that but at the same time I’m glad I did take that fight on short notice because it showed me some things I need to work on If somebody told me before I hand. I need to switch up how I train for a five round fight I would have thought they were crazy. Like “yeah whatever I know I can push the pace, i’ll be fine in a five round fight” But after doing so I found out that I can definitely switch up how I train to get ready for a five round fight.
Michael S. Kydd
Any thoughts on eye pokes and how we can modify the rules to reduce them?
The eye pokes is just one of those things. I know one time the UFC tried to cut the gloves to try and prevent guys from keeping their hands open and poking you in the eye. It;s just one of those things that’s really unintentional. I don’t think anyone goes out there hoping to poke someone in the eye. For me it’s one of the techniques I use. I have my hand open to slap my partner to set things up or push his head away to set punches up but. Other than that I’m not intentionally trying to poke him in the eye it was just there. I don’t think there is no way of avoiding it 100 percent but it’s a technique you use in training and unfortunately using that specific technique it ends up resulting in a eye poke from time to time but it’s really no way to avoid it. I hurt my hand in the Gastelum fight early on and I couldn’t make a closed fist with my jab hand and I couldn’t punch with the hand. So as a result I was leaving it open and using it as a slap to set up my takedown and Big John was saying “close your hand, close your hand” and I was like “well dude I can’t close my hand cuz it hurts!” I’m keeping it open right now and it became difficult where I pretty much had no offense from my left side while I was trying to close my hand.
Do you think you grew more as a fighter after your unfortunate loss to Demian? If so, are we going to see a different style of fighting against Hector?
Yeah definitely I think I learned a lot from the Demian Maia fight. When I look back at that fight I can sit there and make a thousand excuses but in reality I was schooled in that fight. I mean the way he took me to the grown, the way he controlled me, the way he submitted me I was 100 percent schooled but there are two ways I could look at it. I can either write it off as I just fought one of the best ground guys in the game, write it off as a loss and leave it at that or I can be like what did he show me that can make me a lot better in the future. Stepping up my ground game 100 percent, seeking out more training partners that actually put me in more dangerous situations that would force me to evolve as a ground fighter. I think that Demian Maia fight motivated me to get better on the ground. How cool would be it be to as good as he is on the ground? I think if I evolve my striking and develop my ground game to a point that guys don’t want to go there because they are worried about my submission game. I’m pretty sure that’s one of those things that could separate me from some of the other guys in that division.
What is your opinion on the current scoring system, and what do you feel would be a better scoring system?
With the way it’s set up now I don’t have a problem with it. One thing it just needs to determine better how to score things. Like is a submission attempt from the bottom worth as much as a takedown or is a takedown as worth as getting out of a submission? Just like take the Dominick Cruz fight from the past weekend, there were times when T.J. was controlling the fight and landing more power shots but he gave up two takedowns and the judges gave Cruz the rounds because of that. Even though the takedowns didn’t really do any damage or gain control or anything like that. Throughout the entire round T.J. was the one controlling the distance controlling the pace, controlling the pressure. But because of two takedowns you score the round for Cruz. I think just having a more fairier way of judging the fight would be better off in the future. Like you can take the guy down but if you don’t do anything with the takedown I can’t just like give you points for that. You control the guy, punch the guy, something other than you just got the takedown. It has to be something more significant than just taking the guy down.
Travis Brown (MMA WRECKAGE)
**Follow Up Question**
Would you like to see guys who were fighters judge the scoring?
Yeah I think that would be a good way to go but even then there is always room for someone to be biased. Even if you get guys who competed in martial arts to be judges there are still some biases there that you have guys that are jiujitsu practitioners who would be a little more biased when judging a fight versus a guy who has a boxing or kickboxing background. Like “wow that guy went for a sick submission let me give him more points than the shot to the face he took to get there. There definitely is not a perfect way to get the judging in order but I do think it’s something that needs to be discussed more openly. even after a fight have the judges sit down with each other and ask like “why did you score this fight T.J. or why did you score this fight for Cruz?” That way we can try and get some consistency across the board.
You recently attended a seminar held by Demian Maia, a move many fans applauded as it showed a lack of any ego. Did you learn a lot from him, and is he someone you can see yourself working with again?
Yes definitely. Demian Maia is a guy who has been in the sport for over ten years and in the top ten just as long. So anything I can learn from a guy like that I feel like it can help my career a ton. Even himself, i’ll tell you he had no ego at all. Even though the seminar had some things that I already he was covering, he still took sometime to point out some things I was doing wrong with the Gastelum fight. Things he helped me improve on even though we are still active welterweights in the same division. He just kinda took on this role that ok I’m your senior, i’ve been in the game a lot longer but I’ll help this young guy out who really wants to learn. That’s a trait that you really can’t get from anyone else a lot of guys put their own ego in there and most guys are like i’m going to keep my skills above you. He completely set that aside and opened up his mind and his heart to share some techniques with me and I thought that was pretty cool.
Travis Brown (MMA WRECKAGE)
In the form one of the more popular questions has to do with your upcoming fight with Hector Lombard. When an opponent has failed a PED test is that something that’s in the back of your mind leading up to the fight?
Yeah it’s definitely something that plays in the back of my mind. He sat out last year for an entire year while suspended but no one knows if he was being drug tested or not. No one knows if he was off doing his own thing. There is really no way to know for sure but one thing I;m ready for is to face the toughest version of Hector Lombard. Whether it’s him on steroids or him with i’m just ready for the toughest version. I’m just going to have faith in USADA to weed out the cheaters and things like that. But day to day i just focus more on competing as the best version of myself.
Neil Magny would like to thank Musclepharm and all the fans who participated in the questions!