Mike Malott plans to take Neil Magny’s ranking at UFC 297: ‘I see various paths to a finish’

TORONTO – Mike Malott sees his UFC 297 fight vs. Neil Magny as his chance to break into the welterweight rankings and take his career to the next level.

After opening his octagon tenure with three consecutive stoppage victories, Malott (10-1-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) was paired up with all-time divisional wins leader Magny (28-11 MMA, 21-10 UFC) on the Jan. 20 pay-per-view card, which takes place at Scotiabank Arena.

Magny has a proven track record of being willing to take on potential rising stars at 170 pounds, and he’s derailed the hype on multiple occasions. Malott will be the next to try his luck, and he fully expects a breakthrough showcase.

“I think I’ve shown everybody already that I should be taken seriously in this division,” Malott told MMA Junkie following Tuesday’s UFC 297 on-sale press conference in Toronto. “With his fight, I’m not so much focused on him as I am the position. This is a number I’m fighting for. This is my spot on the ladder, this is my ability to start climbing in the ranks.

“This is the biggest opportunity of my fight career and I think I’ve done a really good job throughout my career of having the best performances when there’s the most on the line. So I’m expecting this to be the best performance of my career so far.”

Malott is not looking past Magny by any stretch, but he acknowledges what winning this particular contest could do for his career. Fighters who beat Magny often go on an upward trajectory in terms of matchmaking, and with the UFC shifting broadcast partners to put a renewed focus on his native Canada in 2024 and beyond, Malott knows what type of opportunities could be on the horizon if he continues to deliver.

“If I can fight the rest of my UFC career in Canada, I absolutely would,” Malott said. “Once I get into that top 10 of fighting guys in the top 10, I think it makes sense to be co-main or main event on a Fight Night, or eventually a co-main or main event on pay-per-view. So I think we start with the No. 13. That’s obviously the most important thing. I can’t look past this. My focus is there. Once that one is done, it depends on what the UFC wants to do next.”

Although he’s been stopped multiple times during his career, Magny has proven to be one of the most durable welterweights out there during his lengthy UFC career. Malott is aware of what he’s getting into the cage with, but with a 100 percent finish rate on his recent, he made it clear he doesn’t plan on allowing Magny to survive the distance.

“I see various paths to a finish,” Malott said. “I’m never rushing to a finish. … I just end up finding finishes. I look for them consistently throughout a fight.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 297.

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Mike Malott def. Adam Fugitt UFC 289

Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Mike Malott moves in with a kick against Adam Fugitt…

Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Mike Malott moves in with a kick against Adam Fugitt during UFC 289 at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

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Mike Malott def. Adam Fugitt UFC 289

Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Mike Malott applies a hold against Adam Fugitt during UFC…

Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Mike Malott applies a hold against Adam Fugitt during UFC 289 at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

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Mike Malott def. Adam Fugitt UFC 289

Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Mike Malott pins Adam Fugitt to the mat during UFC…

Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Mike Malott pins Adam Fugitt to the mat during UFC 289 at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

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Mike Malott def. Adam Fugitt UFC 289

Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Mike Malott moves in with a kick against Adam Fugitt…

Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Mike Malott moves in with a kick against Adam Fugitt during UFC 289 at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

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Mike Malott def. Adam Fugitt UFC 289

Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Mike Malott celebrates his victory by submission against Adam Fugitt…

Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Mike Malott celebrates his victory by submission against Adam Fugitt during UFC 289 at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

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Mike Malott def. Adam Fugitt UFC 289

Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Mike Malott celebrates his victory by submission against Adam Fugitt…

Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Mike Malott celebrates his victory by submission against Adam Fugitt during UFC 289 at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

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Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Mike Malott is declared the winner by submission against Adam…

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie