Coming off a loss in his last fight of 2015, welterweight Ben Neumann was looking to turn things around last year, and was able to do so with wins over Isreal Lozano and Jordan Larson for the RFA.
“I got my two wins and got back on track,” Neumann told MMAWeekly.com. “I thought (Lozano) was going to be strong as a striker and more of a grappler on the ground, but it ended up being pretty quick.
“I stepped up to a lot tougher guy for my last fight here (against Larson). A lot of people thought I was going to lose, but to be able to get the win in the second round and to show I could beat a good wrestler from a big gym was a good thing for me.”
When it comes to his development over the past year, Neumann is more pleased with how he’s been able to find his comfort level in the cage than anything else.
“The day to day training with the incremental changes, you don’t feel them day to day,” he said. “Feeling a lot more comfortable in the cage and being able to more calm and relaxed and be able to think in there makes it much more fun and I perform better now.”
On Friday in Prior Lake, Minn., Neumann (11-4) will look to pick up his third win in a row when he takes on Damion Hill (12-5) in a 170-pound main card bout at LFA 2.
“The way I approach it, when I get offered a name, I check out their videos real quick so I have rough idea what I’m preparing for, but I’m trying to not be too specific overall because I know things can change at last-minute,” said Neumann of facing Hill.
“If I’m over-prepared and there is a change, it can mess you up mentally a little bit. So really I try not to be too attached to the guy because it could change. Really the week of the fight is when I really start studying the videos, start preparing for them, but it doesn’t matter too much to me with a change of opponent. I’m ready for anything.”
Having found success in the RFA over the past year, Neumann now sets his sights on LFA title contention in 2017.
“I really want to get that belt in 2017,” Neumann said. “That’s my goal for sure. I feel like I’m really close right now. I’ve got three wins and just one loss, a decision loss to one of the best guys out there, and I haven’t been finished in years. I think I can get that belt.
“The guy who last had the (RFA) belt is in the UFC now, so the belt is open and hopefully I get to fight for it when I get the win here. That’s my goal.”