Josh Neer has been around mixed martial arts for a long time.
He’s been a pro for almost 16 years and he has more than 50 fights on his ledger. He’s enjoyed plenty of ups and endured several downs along the way, but he seems to have a chip on his shoulder due to a recent loss. His next opponent, Anthony Smith, might have more problems at hand than previously anticipated.
The last time the world watched Neer in action, he was embroiled in a battle against Brazilian Andre Santos in one of the featured bouts of Bellator 146 in November. When the smoke cleared and the dust settled inside the cage, Neer thought for sure he had won. He even consoled Santos afterward, but the three judges didn’t see it that way.
“I thought I won every single round,” Neer told Sherdog.com in a recent interview. “After the fight, even the referee thought I won. I asked him [Kerry Hatley] if I had won and he told me, ‘Yeah, you won all three rounds.’ My opponent was almost crying on my shoulder, and I was telling him to keep his head up and that he did a good job, but then he’s announced as the winner. I was like, ‘What the f--k? Are you kidding me?’
“He speaks Brazilian so he wasn’t speaking English to me, but his head was down and he conceded that he lost the fight,” he added. “He maybe won the second but I clearly won the first and third. I took him down five times, did damage to him and almost submitted him. What sucks is that on my record it says I lost back-to-back fights. But in my mind I won. I think I’ve won all of my fights except for one, but you can’t control it when the judges screw you over.”
Neer’s next objective is to take the frustration of what he feels was a lousy decision and force it onto Smith, a man he’s already conquered. “The Dentist” took it to “Lionheart” in December 2013 at Victory FC 41 and submitted the Omaha fighter via third-round rear-naked choke. Neer feels there’s no reason why he can’t do it again.
“I have gotten better and I’m sure he’s gotten better, too,” he said. “I’m sure I’m still better than him at pretty much everything. I watched a couple of his fights that have been on AXS TV, but he’s had some good matchups. He was matched up with the right guys. His managers did a good job.”
Neer’s tussle with his old rival is scheduled to headline Victory FC 47, which will go down at Baxter Arena in Smith’s hometown of Omaha. What makes the middleweight championship matchup intriguing, however, is the fact that it will headline the first ever Victory FC card that will stream live on UFC’s popular Fight Pass online service. The action takes place Friday night and will stream live on Fight Pass starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Neer has fought under the Victory umbrella before and he admits that he is excited to be competing for the promotion.
“I think it’s awesome,” the Iowan said. “I remember when Victory was the first show I ever went and saw [live]. I think Jason Brilz fought Justin Eilers. Victory is a good show and they’ve been around for a long time. It’s good to be fighting for them.”
Even with the more prominent platform, Neer isn’t banking on a return to the Octagon with an impressive performance on Friday night. When pressed, “The Dentist” scoffed at the notion and revealed that he is actually is preparing to leave the sport.
“I don’t really talk to the promoters,” he said. “If they want to sign me, they can sign me but I’m not going to go beg. I feel as though my style of fighting is exciting and that any show I fight in, they should be happy that I’m there. It’s not like I get paid very much in those shows so why wouldn’t they sign me?
“I’m trying to get out, though,” he added in closing. “Hopefully I’ll be done (fighting) within the next three years.”