Accepting a fight on short notice comes down to two simple questions for UFC welterweight Neil Magny.
Is he healthy? And is he in shape?
Magny (15-4) happened to meet both criteria earlier this month, when UFC matchmaker Joe Silva called him with an opportunity. Magny agreed to replace an injured Rick Story in a co-main event bout against Erick Silva (18-5) at UFC Fight Night on Sunday in Saskatoon, Canada.
Magny's decision to accept the fight came just 10 days after he suffered a lopsided submission loss to Demian Maia at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro. It was Magny's first loss since November 2013 and snapped a division-best seven-fight win streak.
Despite the one-sided nature of the fight, Magny emerged relatively unscathed. Maia won the fight by controlling Magny on the floor, eventually tapping him via rear-naked choke midway through the second round.
"Physically, I came out with virtually no damage," Magny told ESPN.com. "I didn't have a speck of blood; no bumps or bruises. I woke up the next day as if I were in training camp. It really didn't affect me physically at all.
"[Silva] is nothing I haven't seen before in the UFC. I've gone against guys who are super-explosive, good at wrestling, great jiu-jitsu -- I'm not expecting to see anything that I haven't seen in a fight or training before."
Fighting out of Denver, Magny says he was both humbled and motivated by the recent loss to Maia. After experiencing firsthand how smothering Maia's ground game can be, Magny has set a lofty goal in terms of development in that area.
"People said, 'You did a good job of defending his submissions,'" Magny said. "I don't want to go against guys who are great at particular aspects and just defend what they do well. I want to be able to impose the will Maia did on me to future opponents."
Looking back at UFC 190 prefight interviews, Magny says he was guilty of looking past Maia (21-6). That might sound crazy, considering the proven veteran Maia is, but a seven-fight win streak is capable of putting your head in the clouds.
"In the interviews I was doing, I was saying, 'I'm going to win eight in a row and have this and that open up for me,'" Magny said. "So that humbled me. It put me back to a point where my focus will be on what's directly ahead of me."
There are few secrets regarding the opponent directly in front of Magny now. Silva, 31, is one of the most dynamic finishers in the sport -- inside the first round.
Beyond that, he has struggled, at least in the UFC. Through 10 UFC appearances, Silva is 6-1 when fights end within the first five minutes (i.e., in the first round). He is 0-3 in fights that go longer. His one loss in the first round came via disqualification in a bout he was dominating.
Magny says that kind of opponent isn't likely to have much success against his high-volume style, but he is prepared for anything in case Silva changes his approach.
"Knowing the pace I can put on guys, there aren't many people who can withstand that," Magny said. "Some guys are built like sprinters. They come hard and fast in one round. I'm someone who can have power and endurance through a whole fight.
"But at the same time, my coaches have me training a lot of reactions. If he comes at me super-hard, I'll react. If he sits back, I'll react to that, too. Who knows? Maybe his coaches realized that's a fault he has had and have coached him not to come out highly explosive in the first round. If I get too caught up into what he has done or what I think he'll be doing, I can put myself in a bad position."
As far as his position in the welterweight division, Magny isn't too concerned with his loss earlier this month. Here it is, not even September yet, and he has a chance to put it behind him.
"The win streak was awesome, but when I look at the bigger picture, this was always going to be a long process getting UFC gold," Magny said. "It wasn't going to be a diagonal line, always going straight up. The reality is you're going to go up, down, and come back up again. It's going to be a staggered line to get to the top. That loss humbled me and taught me a lot. Now it's about taking what I can from it and moving forward."