At one point in her career, flyweight Kaytlin Neil was 1-3 and it was not clear if she would be able to live up to the potential and hype that others had placed upon her.
Since last October Neil has been able to turn things around, and is now riding a three fight winning streak heading into the biggest opportunity of her career.
“I’ve been on a little bit of a win streak, which is nice,” Neil told MMAWeekly.com. “I got a first round TKO in January and then I won a title bout for Steelfist. I feel like my fight game has improved and it’s kind of just shown through those fights.”
For Neil, it’s being more assertive in her fights that have made the difference over her winning streak. It’s a change that begins in the gym and that she’s been able to transfer to her bouts themselves.
“I’ve been really focusing on being more aggressive and going after it,” said Neil. “I’ve always been a technical fighter, but I haven’t been aggressive, so we’ve really been working on that aggression and bringing it out in me.
“I’d always sit back and use my technical moves and land things here and there, but for sparring we’ve really focusing on me moving forward, being aggressive, me being the one pushing the pace; and when hitting the bags, me hitting as hard as I can. We’re really doing everything we can to get me to be more aggressive.”
On Friday in West Valley City, Utah, Neil (4-3) will look to extend her winning streak when she faces Lisa Mauldin (2-0) in a main card 125-pound bout at LFA 66.
“Lisa looks like she can be technical and aggressive when she wants to be, and I’m definitely not going to overlook her,” Neil said. “I know she’s going to be aggressive and technical, but I believe I can out-strike her, out-grapple her, and I think I’m a little better overall.
“I have more experience, and all the opponents I’ve fought are definitely more experienced (than hers). I’m not taking easy fights. I’m trying to build a record and build a career, so I’m trying to take fights that will be hard and will challenge me. I know I will be her toughest match-up so far.”
With recent success and media attention surrounding her, Neil is looking to parlay her momentum into a move to the next level before 2019 is out.
“What I’m really trying for is getting into the UFC,” said Neil. “I’ve been changing my game and focusing on anything I can to get there. I’m trying to big fights, take title fights, take big names and fight for big promotions.
“A lot of fighters come out of the LFA (to the UFC), so I’m really excited to fight for them. This is another step in the direction I need to go to fulfill my ultimate goal of being a UFC fighter.”