Geoff Neal admits he underestimated Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 285: ‘He was way better than I thought’

DALLAS – Geoff Neal didn’t think Shavkat Rakhmonov would be as good as he was.

Neal (15-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) was submitted by Rakhmonov (17-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) late in Round 3 at UFC 285 in March. Although Rakhmonov is undefeated with a 100 percent finish rate, “Handz of Steel” was confident he could beat him.

Neal’s resume includes impressive wins over top contender Belal Muhammad and Vicente Luque.

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“Just learned not to take anybody lightly anymore,” Neal told MMA Junkie. “He was way better than I thought he was gonna be. It was a fun fight. I got to test myself and – sh*t, I want to do it again. I want to run it back, but I know I have to earn that. But I know one day we’ll run it back, and I’ve got to get it back because he had me on the cage and choked me out like that. I can’t let that slide, so we’ll meet again one day. Yeah, f*ck that dude (laughs).”

Due to missing weight for the first time in his career, Neal normally would not have been eligible for the $50,000 bonus for his Fight of the Night effort against Rakhmonov. But UFC president Dana White was impressed with Neal’s performance and decided to reward him anyway.

Neal spoke briefly on the weight miss and said he plans to clean up his diet in order to prevent any future mishaps.

“Just lack of preparation, and I had injuries that were before the fight,” Neal said. “Some medical issues popped up, too. I don’t want to get into detail, but I’ll just attribute it to lack of preparation. I should have prepared for all the things – I knew I had injuries, I knew about my health situation. If I would have prepared more beforehand, none of that would have happened. So, lack of preparation is the reason why I missed weight.”


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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie