UFC welterweight contender Neil Magny opened up about sparring Robbie Lawler back when he was just 19 years old.
Having recently turned 33, Magny is one of the most accomplished welterweights to ever compete in the UFC and is a perennial top-15 contender. But when he was a college student just getting started in the sport back when he was only 19, Magny said that he got the chance to spar against the future Hall of Famer Lawler at the H.I.T. Squad. Now, in the year 2020, Magny finally gets the chance to fight Lawler on August 29 in Las Vegas, but this time it’s in the Octagon and not just a sparring session.
Speaking to James Lynch of MMA News, Magny opened up about sparring Lawler when he was just 19 and explained why it gave him the confidence to make a run to the UFC.
“I feel like I match up against (Lawler) pretty well. I mean he’s a guy I used to train with when I started in MMA. So seeing how his career has progressed over the last 10 years and how my career progressed the last 10 years, I feel like we match up well. Robbie Lawler actually owned a gym that I trained at in college. Him and Matt Hughes purchased the H.I.T Squad when I (started in MMA),” Magny said
“I mean, the training back then was tough. A 19-year-old kid getting to spar a guy like Robbie Lawler. It was a real eye-opener for me. Those are the sessions where it really made me question whether or not this is what I wanted to do for a living or not. Passing that test against Robbie Lawler back in the day gave me the confidence like, ‘You know what? I’m ready to fight for the UFC. I’m ready to make this my career, ready go all in for it.’ So I’m actually grateful for that experience that I had back in the day.”
Magny was set to fight Geoff Neal on the August 29 card, but when Neal got sick, Lawler stepped in on short notice. For Magny, it’s an exceptional opportunity to fight a former UFC welterweight champion and continue to move up the rankings in the stacked 170lbs division. However, this certain matchup means a lot more for Magny just based on his history in the sport, and the fight with Lawler should be a real good one for the fans.
Who do you think wins, Neil Magny or Robbie Lawler?