Geoff Neal sees both sides to Khamzat Chimaev getting Leon Edwards fight

By Drake Riggs - December 17, 2020

Streaking welterweight contender Geoff Neal is prepared to compete in his biggest fight yet. But originally, he wasn’t supposed to be UFC Vegas 17’s main event.

Geoff Neal

On December 19, Neal is set to take on former UFC welterweight title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. For the 30-year old Contender Series alum, this will be his first time as a UFC headliner.

However, he and Thompson received the bump up to the featured bout after COVID-19 forced No. 3 ranked contender Leon Edwards out of his bout with Khamzat Chimaev. In the case of Sweden’s Chimaev, it too was to be his first career main event in the UFC. This coming after a sensational beginning to his UFC run with three flawless performances in 2020.

Because of that, Chimaev is now poised for big things atop the 170-pound weight class despite only having one win in the division within the promotion. Whether or not he deserves such opportunities at this early stage is up for debate.

“Honestly, it’s frustrating in a way but I signed up for this sh*t,” Neal told MMA Fighting. “It’s the UFC, it’s a business. [Chimaev] did what he had to do to get where he’s at so I can’t really hate on the man for it. Does he deserve it? Yeah, in a way. If we’re talking about fighting, no. But if we’re talking about business, yeah, he deserved it.

“He only fought one welterweight so if we’re talking about fighting and him deserving to fight the No. 3 ranked welterweight? Hell no, he don’t deserve that. But if we’re talking about business and how he got the hype behind him, yeah, he deserves that.”

For the 13-2 Geoff Neal, a win over “Wonderboy” would extend his current streak to eight in a row (six in the UFC). Therefore putting him all that much closer to his ultimate goal of becoming champion.


Geoff Neal Khamzat Chimaev UFC