As vaccination rates rise and restrictions are lifted, things are beginning to look up for many fighters who have wanted to be more active. When it comes to Bellator light-heavyweight Grant Neal, with openings come more opportunities to improve, which is exactly what he feels like he’s been doing.
Rather than trying to make periodic leaps in his game, Neal believes his consistent approach to getting better accumulates over time, making for better development.
“Everything in Colorado at least has started to head in a direction of pre-Covid as far as being able to go out and train and have the gyms open,” Neal told MMAWeekly.com. “It’s opening up more, more people are around, so 2021 is looking up. I’m excited about it. From a training standpoint it’s been awesome.
“The goal is be a half a percent better every day that we train, and compound interest is an amazing thing. That compound interest in training is going to allow me to do the things I want to in this sport.”
In addition to consistent growth, Neal’s willingness to learn from those around him is also a big part of his growth over the first couple years of his career.
“I have a lot of phenomenal training partners that can bring out the best in my game, and also help me find new things that I can explore as I traverse this MMA landscape,” said Neal.
“I think that it’s really important to utilize all the knowledge you have around you, and the guys who have been there and done that, and I have an opportunity to have a lot of people around me who have been there and done that, so I’m just kind of being a sponge and soaking it up.”
This Friday in Uncasville, Connecticut, Neal (5-0) will look to remain unblemished when he takes on fellow undefeated prospect Tyree Fortune (5-0) in a preliminary 205-pound bout at Bellator 259.
“My opponent is a game opponent and has done everything he’s needed to do to be undefeated at this point, so I’m excited for this upcoming challenge,” Neal said of Fortune. “I know that everything that I’ve done in camp so far is very pointed and centered around getting the job done. It’s really just focusing on getting better.
“I think this is a great opportunity for me to get better and grow, and show the world what I’ve been working on since my last fight.”
Having found success in other sports, Neal applies the same philosophies in MMA and how to navigate the road ahead of him in 2021.
“One thing my football coach said after we won the national championship (at CSU Pueblo) was ‘win the last game’, so every game you go into it like it’s your last game, and I’ve brought that mentality into fighting,” said Neal. “My goal in fighting is to be 1-0 in every fight, and if you do that everything else takes care of itself.
“You have to put yourself in a position to succeed, and there’s a little bit of that, but the most important thing is once things are on the table you have to win the fights that are in front of you.”