Geoff Neal Unimpressed by Leon Edwards & Colby Covington, Advocates for Belal Muhammad’s Title Shot

UFC welterweight Geoff Neal expressed disappointment in the UFC 296 main event between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington, stating that he was unimpressed by both fighters and confident that he could beat them.

Well, the UFC 296 main event was a bit of a letdown, wasn’t it? Leon Edwards and Colby Covington were in the ring, but it wasn’t exactly a barn-burner. Geoff Neal, another UFC welterweight, was so bored he nearly changed the channel before it was over.

Covington, despite his trash talk, didn’t do much in the five rounds. Edwards, on the other hand, was on his game. He picked Covington apart from a distance and even managed a few takedowns against the former All-American wrestler from Oregon State.

Edwards won, sure. Scorecards read 49-46 across the board. But Neal wasn’t impressed by either the champ or the challenger. “I was low-key disappointed,” Neal admitted on The MMA Hour. He expected more action, more competition.

By the fourth round, Neal was ready to bail. He was at Buffalo Wild Wings, and he was about to just walk out. He didn’t understand what was going on with Colby. And Leon? He was too passive. Neal’s confident he could take either of them. “I didn’t see nothing special out of either one of them.”

Neal’s set to return to the ring at UFC 299, facing Ian Machado Garry. He’s been hovering around the top 10 welterweight rankings for a while now, but he’s yet to get a title shot. He’s 2-1 in his last three fights, with wins over Vicente Luque and Santiago Ponzinibbio. His last outing, though, was a loss against Shavkat Rakhmonov.

Ideally, Neal wants to beat Machado Garry in March. Then, he’s hoping for at least two more fights in 2024. He wants back in the title fight conversation. After watching Edwards and Covington, he’s feeling pretty confident about his chances. “I already thought I could beat them, but after seeing it, I know I can f*** these dudes up,” Neal said.

Neal’s not at the top of the division yet, but he’s got a solid track record since joining the UFC. He even has a unanimous decision win over Belal Muhammad from their 2019 match. That was Muhammad’s last loss before his 10-fight unbeaten streak. Now, Muhammad’s hoping for a shot at the title, and Neal thinks it’d be a mistake to overlook him.

Neal’s not sure if Muhammad can beat Leon, but he thinks he deserves the next title shot. He’s won 10 straight since his loss to Neal. “Give that boy what he worked for, and then after he gets the belt, I’ll go up there and I’ll beat him up again.”

Neal respects the streak Muhammad’s been on since their first fight. He’s ready for a rematch, especially if a title’s on the line. “It’s about the work he put in,” Neal said. “I’m impressed. To get 10 straight wins in the welterweight division, that’s not an easy thing to do. [Fighting him for the title] that would be perfect. Anything that leads me to the belt is perfect, I don’t care who it is.”


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