Josh Neer has been fighting for a good 8 years now. In that time the Iowa native has been fortunate enough to face some of the top lightweights and welterweights around like Spencer Fisher and the brothers Nick and Nate Diaz. He holds notable victories over Melvin Guillard and Ultimate Fighter winners Joe Stevenson and Mac Danzig. Neer hasn’t wasted any time since he ended his third stint in the UFC with recent 1st round stoppage victories against Matt Delanoit and Anselmo Martinez.
Less than a month ago, it was announced that Neer would get in the cage against Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez in a 160 lb catchweight superfight this May. Alvarez is considered one of the top 5 lightweights in the world and needless to say, this would be a career defining victory for Neer. I recently had a chance to do a short interview with Josh about his upcoming fight among other things. Neer was brief and to the point at times, but also revealed a bit about himself and his family life that most fans don’t get to see.
StrLive: This upcoming fight with Eddie Alvarez is at a catchweight of 160 lbs. Does it bother you at all that you are fighting the Bellator lightweight champion but not for the title?
Josh Neer: No, I’ve never fought to get a belt. I’d rather they pay me an extra 500 bucks and they could keep the belt.
StrLive: If you were to win this fight, would you want a rematch down the road for the Bellator lightweight championship?
JN: I mean if I beat Eddie, I’m pretty much the champ. You’d have to ask him if he’d want a rematch.
StrLive: Alvarez is a pretty dynamic fighter with 11 knockouts, also his last four wins have come via submission. What aspect of his game are you most concerned with?
JN: Striking. I’m not worried about his jiu jitsu. His striking is definitely his strong point. I don’t see him trying to submit me.
StrLive: You have been stifled by wrestlers in the past, what have you been working on specifically to prevent Alvarez from getting you to the ground?
JN: Just not chasing my opponents. In the past fights I’ve chased my opponents and that’s how I got taken down. I went into the fight thinking I was gonna knock them out but they waited for me to come in and then shoot. My wrestling is good it’s just I can’t really use it when they are so far in on their shots.
StrLive: You’ve had three separate stints in the UFC with an overall 4-6 record. Do you still consider it an ultimate goal to get back in?
StrLive: Your comeback submission win against Melvin Guillard is one of my favorite all-time moments in MMA. What victory do you feel is your most important thus far?
JN: Din Thomas. He’s definitely the best guy I beat. Look at the guys he’s beat (Clay Guida, Matt Serra, Rich Clementi). It’s definitely my biggest win. Plus I feel like I performed well in the fight.
StrLive: You’ve been known to be quite a showman in the cage. Is that how you are in real life or do you just become a different person when the cage doors close?
JN: I’m definitely a different person in the cage. I don’t plan to do things, they just kinda happen in the heat of the moment.
StrLive: You’ve embraced being a “heel” at times in your fights. Does it matter to you whether fans are cheering for you or against you?
JN: Doesn’t matter. Real fans will always cheer for me. The fakes ones..who really cares? I don’t
StrLive: You earned the nickname “The Dentist” by knocking out the teeth of your opponents on the amateur circuit. How did you lose your front tooth?
JN: Lol, when I was like 10 I was running to catch a football. I ran into a guide wire and knocked it out and swallowed it.
StrLive: Legend has it you went 90-1 in your amateur career with your single loss being to Kevin Burns. Have you ever considered a rematch since you both have had success on a professional level?
JN: Actually, I did rematch him a year later and won by TKO. I was 89-1 with 1 no contest as an amateur.
StrLive: Jon Fitch recently said that the closed guard is dead in MMA. What are your thoughts on the subject especially considering you’ve had several successes and a few failures from this position?
JN: Closed guard has always been dead. You gotta open your guard to get a submission.
StrLive: What prompted your decision to leave Milletich Fighting Systems and do you plan on staying in Des Moines, Iowa for the foreseeable future?
JN: I love MFS. Basically, it was a split up between my daughter’s mom and myself. I moved to be closer to my daughter. I plan on going to MFS for at least a week to prepare for this fight.
StrLive: You were part of MFS for years. Do you have an opinion or insight on their recent drama with Drew McFedries?
JN: Drew’s a friend of mine. I wasn’t there at the time. I’m not gonna comment on it. Stuff like this is a team thing and it shouldn’t ever be brought out to the public.
StrLive: Lastly, tons of MMA fighters have hopped on the social networking bandwagon lately. Do you ever plan on creating a twitter account?
StrLive: I really appreciate you taking the time to do this interview, do you have any shoutouts or do you want to thank anyone?
JN: I’d like to thank Des Moines MMA, KO Dynasty, Hitman, Condom Depot, and Respek fightwear
StrLive: I would also personally like to thank some 4otF board members who helped me come up with a couple questions. If you don’t know about that message board, go check it out. It’s one of the best mixtures of mma minds I’ve seen on the internet. Here’s your shoutout Rutabega, T-Watling and thapa.