Even if an athlete speaks softly, they can do something that causes everyone to listen. Whether they put up points, rack up assists, or score on hard shots that eventually start rocking their opponents, every athlete, especially the more soft-spoken ones of the bunch, can find some way to send one loud message.

Josh Neer doesn’t have to say a whole lot about his MMA career, as far as the win-loss column is concerned. His performances and the way he executes a game plan all speak for themselves, as evidenced by the fact that he has finished the vast majority of his fights. Still, while Neer may not say much before a big fight, he’ll never forget the people that helped get him to the top, and when his journey first began, it naturally had to start with an opportunity to to train with the best of the best.

“When I first started fighting,” Neer told The MMA Corner, “I started out in Des Moines, and at the time, the Miletich [camp] was the best gym in the whole world, so it’s a pretty easy decision to go over. If you want to be the best, you have to train with the best, so I moved over to Davenport, was there for four-and-a-half to five years, and back in Des Moines for the past five years.”

Neer still battles out of Des Moines, but if he gets any opportunity to head out near the stomping grounds of Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and help out the likes of Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez, or the Diaz brothers, he definitely does not find any issue with that. Still, as Neer prepares to headline Bellator 129 against Paul Bradley at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, few things compare to fighting close to home.

“I think I just got this fight because I was on a three-fight winning streak,” Neer said, “and all the bigger shows  know that I’m going to come and put on exciting fights, and they’re coming close to where I live, so I think it just made sense for them to book me for this fight.

“I always like fighting close to home, because it’s nice to have people that love you, know you, and that you’re close with come to your fight and watch it, so it’s a good feeling fighting close to home. Omaha and Council Bluffs is kind of like my second home, so I would say it’s a home-field advantage fighting here because I’ve had a lot of fights in Omaha.”

Neer faces a tough homecoming against Bradley. The former Division-I wrestler holds the distinction of having seven wins by some form of knockout, seven wins by some form of submission, and seven decision wins, so he can threaten any fighter anywhere. Add in Bradley’s willingness to stand in the pocket and trade with guys, and Neer can easily tell anyone exactly what makes this fight an exciting affair, beyond the fact that it’s in his home state.

“He’s a good wrestler. I have watched him in a lot of his other fights, and he does stand up a little bit. His standup isn’t bad, so hopefully he comes in, tries to put on an exciting fight, and tries to finish me because I’m always going to put on an exciting fight, so I’m going in there to try and finish him.

The last time Neer fought for Bellator MMA, Eddie Alvarez was the promotion’s lightweight champion. Fresh off of signing a new deal with Bellator MMA, Neer recognizes the task in front of him this Friday night in Council Bluffs, but with a win over Bradley, don’t think for a second that “The Dentist”  won’t look for a step up in competition, especially knowing where any number of wins could lead him.

“I’m signed for four fights, so after this fight, I should move up and fight better competition. Tune in, I’m looking to knock him out or submit him, and I’m looking to put on an exciting fight.”

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.