Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny face career-defining battle at UFC Fight Island 8

The UFC Fight Island 8 fight card was originally supposed to feature Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev in a high stakes welterweight main event. 

But the main event for UFC Fight Island 8 has transformed into another intriguing welterweight bout between top ten contenders Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny.

Magny had an exceptional run last year, staying active and amassing a three-fight winning streak over reputable welterweight contenders like Li Jingliang, Anthony Rocco Martin, and former UFC Champion Robbie Lawler.

“2020’s been a great year for me,” Magny said. “I wish it was a better year for a lot of people. But at the end of the day, I have no complaints about how 2020’s played out for me.”

Chiesa has not fought since his impressive victory over former UFC lightweight champion and welterweight title challenger Rafael Dos Anjos in January of 2020. 

That victory propelled the “Maverick” to a top ten spot in the welterweight division.

Despite Chiesa’s 360-day layoff and the amount of activity Magny has had in the past year, Chiesa does not believe that will grant any form of competitive advantage to his opponent.

“The layoff will not be an issue,” Chiesa said. “I don’t believe in ring rust, I think that’s just a mental thing. So I’ll be firing on all cylinders on the 20th.”

Both fighters have been in the promotion for more than seven years, with both making their respective pay-per-view debuts fighting on the same card at UFC 157.

Which is why it comes as no surprise that they’ve been eyeing a match-up against each other for quite some time.

“I think that him and I were on a collision course to fight sooner or later,” Chiesa said. “No better time than now. We’re both in our prime, we’re both neck and neck in the rankings, so this is a good time for us to compete against each other and may the best man win.” 

Magny agreed with Chiesa’s sentiment, taking note of his undefeated run since switching from lightweight to welterweight in 2018.

“The guy’s doing great so far. He’s currently undefeated in the division. We had two [of the same] opponents,” Magny said. “He finished one guy who I fought and couldn’t finish, and he beat the other guy who beat me. So his skillset is definitely there. His ability to hang with the guys at welterweight is definitely there.”

Make sure to set your reminders and alarms for this one, the main card for UFC Fight Island 8 emanates from Abu Dhabi, starting at 12 p.m. ET.

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