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Geoff Neal: 5 things you need to know about the UFC welterweight

UFC welterweight Geoff Neal
UFC welterweight Geoff Neal
Dhruv Sharma
TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 14 Dec 2020
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Legendary TV character Tony Soprano would describe Geoff Neal as ‘the strong and silent’ type in his trademark style.

The mild-mannered Texan is not much for trash talk and prefers to handle his business inside the Octagon.

Riding a 5-fight win streak with 4 finishes, Geoff Neal is set to take on Karateka Stephen Thompson at UFC Vegas 17 next weekend.

Geoff Neal is on the verge of being ranked in the top 10 of the stacked UFC welterweight division. He is currently ranked 11.

A win against Thompson would propel Geoff Neal right to the top of the division with perhaps just one additional fight needed to fight for the strap. The belt is currently held by Kamaru Usman.

Both Thompson and Neal are known for their striking and the fight promises to be a riveting affair.

As we approach the event, let's look at some lesser-known facts about the Southpaw from Texas.

#5 UFC Vegas 17 will be Geoff Neal’s first main event

While his opponent Stephen Thompson is not new to headlining cards - having twice fought for the welterweight title - Geoff Neal will be closing out a card for the first time.

This is a unique opportunity for the welterweight as it is his first moment of glory under the bright lights.

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Whether he rises to the occasion or crumbles under pressure though, remains to be seen.

#4 Geoff Neal is one of the first graduates of Dana White’s Contender series

Dana White’s Contender Series has produced some great fighters since its inception in 2017, including the likes of Alex Perez who recently fought for the flyweight strap.

Geoff Neal though was one of the first graduates of the series. He was awarded a contract with the UFC after his amazing KO of Chase Waldon in June 2017. He made his debut the next year.

Incidentally, it was just the 3rd episode of the DWCS inaugural season. 

#3 Geoff Neal has never had a 5 round fight

As mentioned before, Geoff Neal has never been in the main event of a UFC card.

Therefore the headliner at UFC Vegas 17 also serves as an opportunity where Neal can test himself over 5 rounds for the first time.

With 8 KO’s to his credit, Neal will be looking to end the fight early. However, in case we do get to the championship rounds we may get to witness whether Neal possesses the skillset and stamina needed to be a champion. 

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#2 Geoff Neal studied at a private University

Geoff Neal graduated from Texas Lutheran University.

Located in Seguin, Texas, it is a privately funded Evangelical university mostly popular with Christian households.

Neal was associated with the football programmer there but was dissatisfied with the sport.

He then decided to shift his focus to MMA under coach Sayif Saud.

Football’s loss was MMA’s gain.

#1 Geoff Neal works as a full-time server at Texas Roadhouse

While it is not rare to see UFC fighters have jobs outside the Octagon, imagining a cage fighter serving food is a tough job.

While fighters like Stipe Miocic (firefighter) and Tim Kennedy (army veteran) have regular jobs more suited to MMA, Neal has been working with the restaurant chain for 10 years.

He left the job after his fight with Mike Perry in 2019 but joined the chain again in 2020 after failing to get a fight.

Here’s hoping that his fight against Thompson ensures that he does not go back to tending bars and serving steaks to hungry Texans.

Published 14 Dec 2020, 13:21 IST
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