Story by Sgt. 1st Class Kassidy L. Snyder, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs
SPRINGFIELD – Sgt. Neil Magny of Chicago, a light-wheeled mechanic with the 708th Medical Company in North Riverside, recently competed on the Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 16 reality TV show.
The show began with 32 welterweights vying for a six-figure UFC contract. Magny was the fourth pick for Shane Carwin’s team after securing a spot in the house with a unanimous decision win over Frank Camacho.
“The first couple of days I was second guessing myself because everyone else trained at all the big gyms and I only trained at small gyms in Chicago and Indiana,” said Magny. “But after the first week I got more confident and thought there wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before.”
Magny wrestled in high school and after his senior year joined the Army, where he learned techniques through the Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP).
“Sergeant Magny is an extremely talented fighter, arguably the best we have in the Illinois National Guard,” said Staff Sgt. Nick Grant, Illinois Army National Guard MACP master trainer. “His natural talent is obvious, but his intense focus sets him apart and it shows as he continues to improve in each and every fight.”
While on a deployment, Magny trained with California Guardsmen who knew kickboxing and jiu jitsu, he said. Once home, he continued with the training and started fighting professionally in 2010.
Magny began TUF 16 with a 7-1 record.
“I got pretty confident as the show went on,” said Magny. “I would have liked to go to the finals, but things happen that are sometimes out of your control.”
Magny ultimately lost in the semifinals, and left with a 3-1 show record.
Recently Magny moved to Colorado where he trains full time at Grudge Training Center in Denver, working out six days a week.
Magny’s six-year Guard contract ends in January and he said he is going to focus on training and hopefully progress his fighting career.
“There are many fighters with talent, but few have the true dedication and drive to become great. I truly believe Sergeant Magny is one of those select few,” said Grant. “The Illinois Combatives Team and the Illinois National Guard are losing an amazing competitor and Soldier and I wish him all the best on his quest to reach all his goals and aspirations. I can think of no one who deserves it more.”
Magny and Jon Manly, who were both one fight away from the finale on the Ultimate Fighter 16, will face each other in the UFC Octagon Feb. 23 in Anaheim, Calif.