UFC 297: Mike Malott Doesn’t Care About Magny’s Name, Just Number Beside It

Mike Malott, UFC 297
Mike Malott, UFC 297 press conference, Nov. 14, 2023 Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

Toronto, ON — Canadian welterweight Mike Malott has managed to draw a very high profile match-up for UFC 297 this January, in the promotion’s return to Toronto.

Malott (10-1-1) wasn’t yet with the company when the UFC last touched down in Toronto in 2018. Since arriving via the Contender Series in 2021 and making his octagon debut the following year, however, the Burlington, Ontario-based fighter has become one of the faces of Canadian MMA.

Three wins under the UFC banner. Nothing but finishes among his ten victories overall. That may just be why he’s drawn such a high-profile fight for UFC 297 Pay-Per-View. Malott will be facing off with Neil Magny, currently ranked #13 in the 170lb division, and the winningest fighter in welterweight history. It seems, getting that pairing so early in his career, that the promotion sees something in Mike Malott.

“I completely agree,” Malott told Cageside Press during the UFC 297 kickoff press conference in Toronto on Tuesday. “To be perfectly honest, I don’t care about the name, I care about the number beside it. So I’m fighting for #13, I’m fighting for my ranked spot, I’m fighting for my spot on the ladder and starting my climb towards a title.”

Getting to do so at home is a huge plus for Mike Malott, who will be making it back-to-back Canadian dates in the fight after earning a win over Adam Fugitt at UFC 289 in Vancouver this past June.

“Last time in Vancouver, I was on the card with Marc-Andre [Barriault], we kind of got spoiled, man. I don’t want to fight anywhere else but Canada now. The reception we got, the crowd literally almost fell on us, and on me specifically.”

“That energy was intoxicating, was addicting,” Malott continued. “I’ve been craving that feeling again since fighting in Vancouver. To not only get fight in Canada again but the closest city to me, Toronto. To fight in what’s now the Scotiabank Arena, but everyone who grew up in this area knows that arena as the ACC. That was the arena growing up as a kid. That was the one where we used to go watch the Leafs play. Growing up, that was the arena to go to, so for me, this is monumental.”

There will be at least one difference fighting close to home in Toronto, Malott later pointed out. “Of course I’ll have a lot more friends and family present,” he noted. “Had Vancouver not been so unbelievably electric, I would say it’s going to be an even bigger reception this time. But I don’t know how much bigger you’re going to get than Vancouver to be perfectly honest. That place was roaring, I could barely hear myself in the post-fight interview.”

Watch the full UFC 297 press conference featuring Mike Malott, as well as Charles Jourdain, Serhiy Sidey, and Marc-Andre Barriault, above.