Geoff Neal in Brooklyn, NY ahead of UFC on ESPN+ via Instagram
Legendary coach Bob Nelson once said, “You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within.” That quote is the distinct representation of Coach Sayif Saud, the head coach at Fortis MMA. With a diverse roster of several fighters at the professional level, Diego Ferreira, Abdul Razak Alhassan, and Rashad Coulter are simply a few names that have contributed to the success of Fortis MMA. Another estimable prospect on the rise for Team Fortis is UFC welterweight Geoff Neal.
“You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within.” Bob Nelson
Geoff Neal created a splash in the MMA world fighting for Legacy Fighting Alliance but the rest of the world was put on alert with a first-round TKO of Chase Waldon on short notice during the first season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series (7/25/17). Consequently, the swift 1-minute 56-second win earned him a well-deserved contract with the UFC.
Attributing Team Fortis and coach Sayif is a large part of Geoff’s success in the octagon. “[Coach Saud] runs a tight ship.”, Neal stated in an interview with Unknown MMA CEO, Chica. “We don’t bring in outsiders, we don’t tolerate mediocrity.”, said Geoff when asked about what separates Fortis from other gyms across the nation. The close-knit relationship between the fighters matched with the respect of coach Sayif Saud provides a level of teachability that produces immeasurable results out of each fighter on their roster.
Unknown MMA’s exclusive interview with Geoff Neal
Neal has proven time and time again that his hard work pays off. He collected an additional 2 wins in his youthful UFC career since appearing on the Contender Series, making him 2-0 in the promotion. On January 19th, 2019, the 28-year-old prospect gets to make history appearing on the debut presentation of the UFC’s new television venture with ESPN. While several others would expect such a historical landmark event to feel surreal, Neal views it as just another day.
When asked how he felt about fighting on such a big card, Neal stated, “It’s just another day. It’s history [and] it’s historic [but] I don’t see it like that. I see it as another fight for me, you know? I’m more focused on what I gotta do than what’s surrounding me.” The larger the stage, the more comfortable he feels. Seeing the large crowds in the audience and hearing their energy makes him feel focused and ready to fight.
The larger the stage, the more comfortable he feels.
The matchup with Belal Muhammad is one Neal hopes lands him solid job security in the UFC. He knows that beating Belal gets him one step closer to UFC matchmakers Mick Maynard and Sean Shelby matching him with a top 15 opponent. Chica asked Geoff what advantages he has over Muhammad in their upcoming bout. “Speed and power”, he replied. In addition, he stated that he wants to see how his cardio matches up with Belal. While recognizing his opponent’s takedown skills, he stated that he believes that his takedown defense is enough to nullify that ability.
The Fortis MMA fire burns inside of Geoff Neal. Maybe part of that could be attributed to his love for SlipKnot and other bands in the rock genre. Don’t let the server/bartender position he still holds fool you; Geoff Neal knocks people out and he means business. A successful showing on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn should show Geoff Neal as a force on the rise in the stacked Welterweight division. Win, lose or draw his powerful style and work ethic should solidify his earned position in the UFC for years to come.
Follow Geoff Neal on Instagram.