With victories in five of his last six fights, including his current three-fight winning streak, former UFC fighter Josh Neer has gotten back on track after a rough 2009 in which he had difficulties both inside and outside the cage.
As Neer told MMAWeekly.com, his resurgence can be credited to work dedicated to eliminating bad tactical habits from his fight game.
“I’ve been working on my foot movement and stuff like that,” he said. “I had a problem with a lot of guys; I chase them and that’s why I get taken down. I’ve really been working on not chasing people, and cutting them off at the right angle and working my takedown defense, too.
“The last guy I fought (Jesse Juarez) was an NAIA National Champion (in wrestling), and he couldn’t take me down. So I feel like my takedown defense has improved a lot.”
Improved ground defense could be a big key in Neer’s upcoming bout with former WEC fighter Blas Avena at Superior Cage Combat 2 at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
“I think his game plan is to try to take me down and submit me; I’m looking to stand up and knock him out,” said Neer. “If he takes me down, I’ll try to submit him; if not, I’ll try to get back up – same as always.
“I don’t really think he’s ever won a fight past the first round, so I’ll have to be ready in that first round and maybe survive a couple of submission attempts. I think as the fight goes on, I’ll be able to wear him down and finish him.”
With over 40 fights in nine years of fighting, there’s not much that Neer hasn’t seen, but still, he understands he needs to continue to grow and not rest on his laurels if he wants to prolong his recent success.
“I’ve got to stay the course, but I’ve got to tweak things,” he said. “I feel like I’m pretty good at every area, but I feel I could be great at every area. I’m just trying to get better at everything, really.
“With the guys that are coming up now, you can’t just rely on what you did in the past. You’ve got to get better every day and try to learn new tricks every day. I’m definitely trying to improve.”
While some people may know him more for his troubles in the past, Neer is working hard to change their impressions of him and make the most of his remaining time in MMA, starting with Saturday’s event at The Orleans.
“I think that SCC is going to put on a great show,” Neer said in closing. “Their first show went really well, and they’re treating the fighters really well, so come out and support everyone.”