Geoff Neal thinks that by defeating Stephen Thompson, he will prove that he is a bona fide title contender and ready for primetime.
UFC Vegas 17 will be headlined by Geoff Neal taking on the #5-ranked welterweight contender Stephen Thompson. Not unlike the co-main event between Jose Aldo and Marlon Vera, many view this contest as a crossroads fight between a grizzled veteran and a younger fighter moving up the ranks.
For Geoff Neal, though, the Stephen Thompson he will be facing tonight is the same Thompson that challenged Tyron Woodley twice for the welterweight title and is the same Thompson who was finishing names like Robert Whittaker, Jake Ellenberger, and Johny Hendricks. Therefore, a victory over Thompson would not only catapult Geoff Neal into the type 5, but it would prove that he, like Thompson before him, is ready to vie for a world championship.
“People talk about his age, he’s 37, but he’s still in his prime,” Neal told reporters during the UFC Vegas 17 media day. “If I get a good win over him that’ll prove me as a real title contender.”
Geoff Neal believes that while it isn’t impossible for him to earn a title shot with a one-in-a-million finish, he most likely will have a little bit more work to do before receiving his first title shot, and that’s OK with him.
“I might have to get one more fight after I beat him,” Neal said. “Depending on what I do, if I do a spinning backward tornado kick and knock him out, I’ll definitely get a title shot. I think even if it’s a really good fight – I’m thinking I’ll need to win one more and get a title shot. That’s my plan.”
With Geoff Neal earning title-contention status with a win tonight and being in his first-ever main event, many people would have a case of the nerves prior to taking the Octagon. The candid Geoff Neal openly confessed that he is among such people.
“There is pressure if I’m being honest,” Neal said. “But I don’t let the pressure get to me. I just know I need to go there and fight to the best of my ability. If it’s not enough then it’s not enough, and I’ve got to go back in the gym and keep working.”
Do you believe Geoff Neal gets it done tonight with a victory over Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson?