LAS VEGAS – Geoff Neal feels underappreciated ahead of his return to the octagon.
The UFC welterweight contender believes he’s been heavily overlooked, as he prepares to take on unbeaten and rising contender Shavkat Rakhmonov at Saturday’s UFC 285 at T-Mobile Arena. To many, Rakhmonov (16-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) has looked impressive in his short run in the UFC. Neal (15-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC) has no problem recognizing his opponent’s skills, but believes the same should be done with him.
“I don’t know how good he really is,” Neal told reporters at Wednesday’s UFC 285 media day. “From what I watch, he is a good fighter, but I’ve beaten good fighters too, so we’re just going to see on Saturday what the hype is about. I want to see who this unstoppable Shavkat is.”
UFC Fight Night 217 odds: Shavkat Rakhmonov a heavy favorite over Geoff Neal
Neal is coming off back-to-back wins over veterans Santiago Ponzinibbio and Vicente Luque. He’s only lost twice in his UFC career, against Neil Magny and Stephen Thompson. The 32-year-old feels he sports a record and resume to merit hype, but for whatever reason is not getting it.
“I’m 7-2 and in all my wins I’m beating these dudes up, and it’s easy, no competition,” Neal said. “I feel like people look past me and then some new guy comes, racks up some finishes, and now he’s the next biggest thing. I’m ready to take that shine from him.”
Neal plans to not only give Rakhmonov his first professional loss, but also put him away.
“I see myself winning by finish, first or second round,” Neal said. “I feel like I’m too strong, too powerful for him. It’s going to wear on him.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 285.