No. 10 ranked welterweight Geoff Neal is set to make his return to the octagon against no. 9 ranked Neil Magny after Neal suffered his first loss in the UFC to no. 4 ranked welterweight Stephen Thompson in Dec. 2020.
Neal rode a seven fight winning streak before his loss to Thompson, and prior to that he was touted by many as the next big thing in the welterweight division.
Despite his loss to a former title challenger and a perennial welterweight contender in “Wonderboy”, “Handz of Steel” believes he still is the next big thing, and Neal knows what he has to do to get back on track.
“I mean, I’m just gonna do what I do best, and winning takes care of everything. So I’m just gonna win this fight, and the plan is to win it in devastating fashion, and that’s the message I’m gonna send,” Neal said at UFC Vegas 26 media day. “I’m not looking to send a message. I’m secure in who I am and what I am and how I fight. So I really don’t care what people say, I’m just gonna do what I do best.”
Neal also addressed whether or not he wanted to send a message with a victory. While many fighters love to prove doubters wrong, “Handz of Steel” made it clear he has nothing to prove to anyone but himself.
“This is for me. I’m not here to send a message to anybody,” Neal said. “I want to win and I want to test myself and I want to be the best fighter there is. So I gotta go through the best.”
Neal believes this fight against Magny will determine if he is able to compete against top welterweight contenders.
“It’s really important [as] like a test for my future in the division. You know what I mean? Things I need to work on,” Neal said. “If I can’t handle Magny’s pressure. His wrestling. His grind. Then there’s no way I’m gonna be able to handle Usman or one of the guys up top. So I have to get through him to see where I’m at.”
“Handz of Steel” refuses to run away from a challenge, and if Neal can get a victory over Neil Magny, Neal’s stock along with the rank of his opponents in the welterweight division will only go up from here.