It wasn't that long ago when No. 13-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight Neil Magny was quietly making his way toward the Top 5 of the 170-pound division.
The 28-year-old has fought a staggering nine times inside the Octagon between 2014-15, accumulating an 8-1 UFC record, with his only loss coming to former middleweight title challenger Demian Maia at UFC 190 last August.
Now, for the tenth time in the span of 24 months, Magny will enter the Octagon on short notice to tangle with The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum in the UFC Fight Night 78 main event tomorrow night (Sat., Nov. 21, 2015) in Mexico.
Like Magny, Gastelum is one of the more heralded young fighters in the welterweight class, having dispatched of notable veterans like Jake Ellenberger and Rick Story during his run into the UFC's rankings.
But, as the Colorado-based Magny would like to point out, it's Gastelum's lackluster performances when the lights are at their brightest, that give the former all the confidence in the world he will emerge victorious in Monterrey.
From Magny's conversation with UFC:
"Kelvin is a tough opponent. I mean, he has a couple of good wins under his belt. I know he's been around this sport for a while, but I know he has a tendency to break in fights as well and I'm pretty sure I can do that. He's a hard-working fighter; he's the kind of guy that comes forward and pushes the wrestling. That's going to be the first time I've faced that kind of an opponent, but he has to do it against a 10-inch reach advantage, before he can worry about wrestling. This is my first time fighting in a five-round fight, but I feel like it's an opportunity for me to shine and see how far I can go. A win over Kelvin Gastelum definitely puts me in the mix for Top 5 opponents."
Gastelum's lone career loss came after a weight-cutting debacle back in January at UFC 183, where after checking in several pounds overweight in "Sin City," the Mexican-American dropped an uneventful split decision to Tyron Woodley.
Meanwhile, Magny's only "L" on this current torrid run came at the hands of a far superior grappler in Maia.
With that being said, there can only be one winner at the end of the night, and the victor will more than likely receive an upgrade in opponent, while the loser is relinquished of any credibility as a contender in the welterweight division.
Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?
For more on the UFC Fight Night 78: "Magny vs. Gastelum card and results, click here and here.