UFC Vegas 8’s Neil Magny: “I’d be an idiot to think for a second that Robbie Lawler is past his prime.”

Neil Magny was supposed to be fighting Geoff Neal this weekend. But after health issues sidelined Neal, Magny received a pleasant surprise: stepping in to take Neal’s place would be Robbie Lawler.

Longtime veteran Robbie Lawler. Former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler.

Definitely an upgrade in terms of profile. Though luckily for Magny, the new opponent doesn’t cause much of an issue in terms of preparation.

“Honestly it wasn’t a huge change as far as the opponents go,” he told Cageside Press at this week’s UFC Vegas 8 media day. “If you break them both down, they’re both super athletic, they’re both southpaws, they’re both power punchers.”

And the trade-off is definitely worth it, it seems. Magny appears amped up for this bout. “The kind of excitement that a fight against Robbie Lawler brings, that’s definitely something that’s going to play a factor for sure,” Magny said Wednesday.

“It feels great. I thank god for it every day,” Magny replied when asked about finally being able to fight at a brisk pace again. A couple of years ago, the welterweight was an absolute workhorse. But a tainted supplement led to a lengthy period on the sidelines, as the fighter and USADA worked to resolve his case.

Now that he’s back, “I’m taking advantage of every opportunity that’s presented to me,” he said. In the past, Magny was fighting for himself, but that has also changed.

“Having a son and having a wife now in 2020, there’s no room for error. There’s no room for slacking off,” he explained. No room for taking a day off either. “To be able to compete as often as I can, provide for my family, keep moving forward to make my dreams true, is amazing.”

Some of the talk heading into the UFC Vegas co-main event between Magny and Lawler has been about the former champion’s recent woes. Lawler is on the worst skid of his career, having lost three straight. Magny isn’t buying it.

“I’d be an idiot to think for a second that Robbie Lawler is past his prime. This guy’s one of the most dangerous welterweights on the planet,” observed Magny. “He was UFC champion for a reason.”

“I can’t look past him at all.” The last couple of fights Lawler has had, said Magny, are not representative of the fighter he is. Especially given Lawler was injured in at least one of those. Not to mention the odd finish to the Askren fight. And so Magny is preparing for “the most dangerous Robbie Lawler ever.”

Watch the full UFC Vegas 8 virtual media day press scrum with Neil Magny above.