Geoff Neal picked up the biggest win of his career at UFC 245 when he knocked out Mike Perry in the first round. He was also the first person to knock out the fan favorite out in MMA.
Neal was confident he would earn a finish but was surprised it happened so soon into the fight.
“That was the plan to take him out early, but to do it that quick, that surprised me. I was expecting to take him out in the second or third round,” Neal said to BJPENN.com. “To do it in a minute-thirty is awesome.”
During training camp, Neal and his head coach Sayif Saud realized Perry had a tendency to drop his hands and posited the head kick may be there. Yet, they expected “Platinum” to try and fix that weakness in his game.
When he didn’t, “Handz of Steel” capitalized on it.
“It is something we noticed. We watched film on him and thought it would possibly be there,” he explained. “I thought going into the fight, he saw my other fights, I landed a head kick on Belal and knocked Frank Camacho out with a head kick. I figured he thought he would have that hole in his game sealed up, but he didn’t. And, the finish was right there.”
With the win, Neal also put his name into the record books as he is the first welterweight to debut with a 5-0 run in the UFC since Kamaru Usman. For Geoff Neal, it just shows all the work he has been doing. But, he isn’t happy with that at all as he knows there is still work to be done.
“It is whatever. 5-0 can turn into 5-5 real quick so I just have to stay focused on winning,” he said. “I haven’t lost in the UFC and I don’t want to know what that feels like. So, I’m going to keep that train going.”
To keep that train going he will need to start to fight above him. He says it has been hard to get ranked opponents as they know how dangerous he is. But, with a number beside his name, and the win over Perry, Neal hopes a ranked opponent will be next.
“It just means people know me now. It will be easier to get a ranked fighter. People will want to watch and tune in and be like oh shoot Geoff Neal is fighting again, I remember seeing him knock out Mike Perry,” Neal explained. “A ranked opponent didn’t want to fight me before but now I got a little bit of a name now.”
For who that opponent will be, Neal and his team wanted Santiago Ponzinibbio, but they don’t know what is going on with him. So, they will just accept any person ranked above him for a fight in February or March.
“At this point, it is whoever the UFC offers. We wanted Ponzinibbio, but I don’t know what happened to him, then RDA is fighting Michael Chiesa. We will see, it is whoever at this point. Anybody ranked above me is in the way of my goal. Whoever is in my way I plan on taking them out,” Geoff Neal concluded.
Who do you think Geoff Neal should fight next after his UFC 245 win over Mike Perry?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/3/2020.