Tonight, Geoff Neal faces the toughest test of his UFC career, taking on former title challenger, Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson. It is also his first time headlining. This came as a result of Leon Edwards rescheduling his bout with Khamzat Chimaev, due to a positive covid-19 test.
At the virtual media day, Geoff Neal was asked about Chimaev’s quick rise through the UFC ranks. Chimaev has only fought once in the UFC’s Welterweight division, and just three times overall. However, he is scheduled to face the #3 ranked Welterweight.
“Honestly, it’s frustrating in a way but I signed up for this sh*t,” Geoff Neal told MMA Fighting. “It’s the UFC, it’s a business. [Chimaev] did what he had to do to get where he’s at, so I can’t really hate on the man for it. Does he deserve it? Yeah, in a way. If we’re talking about fighting, no. But if we’re talking about business, yeah, he deserved it.”
“He only fought one welterweight so if we’re talking about fighting and him deserving to fight the No. 3 ranked welterweight? Hell no, he don’t deserve that. But if we’re talking about business and how he got the hype behind him, yeah, he deserves that.”
Neal went on to discuss how his priority isn’t on promoting himself with a character, and that respect and integrity is more important than selling yourself for money.
“Kids join martial arts gyms not to be an assh*le and talk sh*t and run around the streets,” Neal said. “They join in for self-defense, to learn about respect and integrity. When I see these fighters going out there and making a fool of themselves, I don’t like it. Yeah, it draws numbers and that’s how they say you make money, but you’ve don’t got to sell yourself just to make some cash.”
“That might be Colby. It might be his personality that he’s suppressed for so long, and now he’s just letting it loose. Who knows? Who knows if it’s an act or not. It seems like an act, but some of the stuff he says, he might really be speaking from the heart. What you see is what you get from me. As far as a human being, man to man, this is who I am.”
Khamzat Chimaev and Leon Edwards is likely to be rescheduled for January 20th. In the meantime, ‘Handz of Steel’ and ‘Wonderboy’ have a chance to turn the divisions attention on themselves, and catapult into title contention.