주요 콘텐츠로 건너뛰기
Geoff Neal in California for UFC 298, Feb. 2024 (Photo by Nolan Walker/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Geoff Neal: All Fight No Drama

UFC Welterweight Contender Geoff Neal Is Going To Let His “Handz Of Steel” Do The Talking Versus Ian Machado Garry

Time has flown by for Geoff Neal. For almost a full year, the 33-year-old welterweight contender has been “chillin’, reassessing, and reevaluating life” to get back to his roots. He’s been dialed into the fight game and into training and, most importantly, he’s recaptured the work ethic that helped him make a run early in his UFC career.

Neal makes his return to the Octagon this weekend at UFC 298: Volkanovski vs Topuria, where he’ll fight undefeated Irish contender Ian Machado Garry. The two have a little history, with Machado Garry talking trash and taking shots at Neal in what was a lead-up to a fight between them that was eventually scrapped.

How To Watch UFC 298: Volkanovski vs Topuria In Your Country

All the talk and the flashiness that comes with social media is just not what’s important to Neal. He’d rather keep to himself or make jokes on social media rather than attack someone or be critical. The Dallas native only has his mind on fighting and winning – that’s it. Sure, he might hear trash talk or see some antics happening around the matchup, but he knows he can’t let those things change the type of fight he brings at UFC 298.

Geoff Neal reacts after his knockout victory over Vicente Luque in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 06, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Geoff Neal reacts after his knockout victory over Vicente Luque in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 06, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“I got nothin’ against the dude,” Neal said. “He’s just a body to me. He has his own s*** going on. The mugshot tee is what it is, but I was just excited to get signed for another fight, in general. I’m just about to fight this dude on Saturday, that’s it. There’s no drama.”

UFC 298 Embedded

Viewing Machado Garry only through the scope of a fighter allows Neal to be prepared for the skills he brings to the Octagon. Neal knows what makes Machado Garry good and he’s not going to overlook anything or try to script how the fight will go because he’s learned the hard way that a fight can go nothing like how you expect it to go.

That realization came in Neal’s last fight, a Fight of the Year contender against Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 285. It was a wild one, with big moments from both fighters before Rakhmonov sunk in a late submission to defeat Neal. That fight went nothing like Neal had anticipated, and he’s applied that experience to how he’s approaching fighting Machado Garry.

Rise Of Geoff Neal
fight pass logo
Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

This video is not available in your country

There was a problem while loading content. Please try again.

Rise Of Geoff Neal
/

“I learned my lesson with Shavkat thinking that the fight was going to go exactly like I think it’s going to go and then once it doesn’t, it’s like ‘oh s***,’” Neal said. “I have no expectations, I just know my gameplan and we are going to see how he reacts to it.”

UFC 298 Full Fight Card Preview

Even in losing to Rakhmonov, Neal believed he leveled up from their back-and-forth all-action slugfest. It taught him that he can go through a crazy fight like that, both physically and emotionally.

Although it was reassuring to Neal that he can keep pace with someone as talented as Rakhmonov, he hopes that he doesn’t have to go through a fight like that again.

Geoff Neal punches Santiago Ponzinibbio of Argentina during their welterweight bout during the UFC 269 on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Geoff Neal punches Santiago Ponzinibbio of Argentina during their welterweight bout during the UFC 269 on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“I have never got pushed like that before. People always say, ‘I want to get in a war.’ That was my first war and that was my last one; I’m not doing that s*** no more, I’m going to knock people out,” Neal laughed.

Geoff Neal's Athlete Profile

Getting pushed to the brink and then some helped Neal realize just how much grit there is to his fighting spirit. He’s fought some of the best fighters in his division on his way up the rankings and he earned his spot in the Top 10. While he’s certainly had a tougher strength of schedule to get here, Neal isn’t going to hold that against Machado Garry. He’s going to treat him like he’s the newest, biggest, baddest thing he could face, and he’s going to do his job the only way he knows how.

“I don’t want to dismiss his talent,” Neal said. “In my eyes, he’s a skilled fighter and I’m going to go out there and treat him like a skilled fighter. Just like he’s in the Top 10 and just like he’s fought all the guys that I’ve fought.

“I see myself punching him in the face, then he falls down. That’s what I see. I see me hitting him and I see him collapsing.”

Order UFC 298: Volkanovski vs Topuria

Beating Machado Garry in style will go a long way in getting Neal back to climbing into the welterweight title picture. A highlight reel knockout will generate plenty of attention and set Neal up for a fight into the Top 5. It’s always been the mission to become champion, and Neal plans to use his gained experiences to get there in 2024.

It starts with knocking out Machado Garry at UFC 298, then it’s followed up by one more stellar performance against someone in the Top 5. Then it’s a shot at the title. That’s the script, and Neal won’t let anything steer him from it.

“This game is unforgiving; I can’t keep on losing and I want to be a champ. I don’t want to win a fight then lose a fight then win a fight then lose a fight,” Neal said. “I want to go on a streak and win a belt.”

UFC 298: Volkanovski vs Topuria took place live from Honda Center in Anaheim, California on February 17, 2024. See the final Prelim & Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!