Geoff Neal doesn’t think he is getting the respect he deserves heading into his UFC 285 fight against Shavkat Rakhmonov.
Neal is set to take on Rakhmonov in a big fight for the welterweight division. The two were originally booked to fight back in January, but an injury to Neal forced the fight to be moved to UFC 285. After news of Neal’s withdrawal was made public, he got flooded with comments suggesting that he was scared of Rakhmonov, which he wasn’t happy about.
“It is what it is, I don’t know why they think a professional MMA fighter is going to be scared of another professional MMA fighter,” Neal said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “That is weird to me. They might be scared of Shavkat. So, they just assume everybody else is scared of him. Nobody is scared of him; people just don’t want to fight him. I don’t mind fighting him, it’s a perfect fight for both of us. Winner takes all, so let’s get it.”
Although Geoff was confident that he and Shavkat would get rebooked, he was glad when it was made official. He knows Rakhmonov has a ton of hype, but he wants to remind people he is hard to get down and is very capable of pulling off an upset.
“I’m not an easy person to take down. We will see how it goes,” Neal said. “Unless he shows me something different or I gas myself out doing something dumb, I don’t see myself going to the ground at all in this fight… It’s going to be different; it’s going to be a tricky fight because he is tall and long. I don’t see him doing traditional wrestling shots, he will try and pressure me and put ahold of me and put me against the cage and try some trips. We will see how it goes, I’m excited to see how it goes and we will adjust on the fly and get the win.”
Geoff Neal enters the fight as a sizeable underdog, which is surprising to him, but he admits that is pissing him off. Not only is he pissed off, Neal believes he is getting disrespected and plans to surprise a lot of people at UFC 285.
Geoff Neal not only expects to beat Shavkat Rakhmonov, but he thinks he can get an early stoppage win to shock the world.
“I just feel disrespected. People think I’m some chump just because he has finished all his fights,” Neal added. “Eight submissions and eight knockouts, so the hell what, you still have to fight me. We will see… It helps piss me off, I’m already motivated. I just wish I got a bit more respect for the things I’ve done in this division. But, whatever I’m going to go out there and show people what they have been disrespecting. He is a finisher and I’m a finisher. Granted I haven’t finished all my fights, I hunt for them. Someone is getting finished in the first or second or it will be a three-round war. That is how I see it going.”
If Neal does finish Rakhmonov, he thinks his next fight should be for the belt as he took the fight no one wanted. As well, he points to his win over Belal Muhammad as the reason why he should leapfrog the fourth-ranked welterweight.
“A win over him puts me in the title picture. Nobody wanted to fight the dude, but I’ll fight him because I’ll fight anybody in the division,” Neal concluded. “I took the fight with him. So, if I beat the hell out of him and finish him, who else is going to fight me?”
Do you think Geoff Neal will beat Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 285?