Statement made: Fortis MMA coach Sayif Saud proud of Geoff Neal’s showing at UFC 245, where he became the first man to stop Mike Perry.
Las Vegas, NV — With Geoff Neal earning a ninety second finish of Mike Perry at UFC 245, set up by a perfectly-placed head kick, it’s safe to say he turned some heads over the weekend. Besides Perry’s. Not that it comes as a surprise to his coach at Fortis MMA, Sayif Saud.
Saud was on hand backstage at the PPV event in Las Vegas, and spoke to media outlets including Cageside Press about his pupil, just one of the names at Fortis MMA who are on the rise.
“I’m really proud of him. I think Geoff showed the MMA community what he’s about,” the coach said post-fight. “All the die-hard fans, they know who he is. He was the favorite, but everybody on the internet thought he was going to be knocked out.”
“Mike Perry’s a big name, he’s a tough guy, he’s never really been put away like that,” Saud added. “So for Geoff to do that is a really big statement.”
The win made it five straight inside the octagon for the Contender Series alum. A lot has been made of Neal’s day job as a server, however the welterweight recently switched to training full time. Given how hard he worked before though, it was hard to tell he wasn’t already a full-time fighter, Saud said.
“Geoff works so hard all the time. He would work a double, then come in and train 100%. You’re not going to see a difference,” he said of the change. “People get where they are for a reason. This guy’s working harder than almost anybody in the gym.”
Fortis MMA has become a rising name in the MMA business of late, with a number of fighters finding success at the highest level. “We have a lot of guys fighting all the time. But that’s good. It keeps the team busy, it keeps everybody involved, it keeps everybody working. Nobody’s being lazy,” said Saud. “People have to have a goal, just like anything, just like a job. You need to have a carrot to chase. And we want to keep these kids active, and we want to keep them climbing up the ranks.”
As he later pointed out, “we don’t have two or three guys. We have fifteen fighters that are in the UFC. We’ve got seven or eight fighters that are streaking.” Among them, Uriah Hall, and Diego Ferreira, who is set to face Anthony Pettis at UFC 246. In other words, things aren’t about to slow down for the camp any time soon.
Check out the full UFC 245 media scrum with Sayif Saud above!