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Kaytlin Neil takes a portrait before The Ultimate Fighter season 30. (photo by Mike Roach/ Zuffa LLC)
The Ultimate Fighter

GET TO KNOW FLYWEIGHT KAYTLIN NEIL | THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER: TEAM PEÑA VS TEAM NUNES

Find Out More About The Ultimate Fighter Season 30 Contestant Kaytlin Neil.

Meet Kaytlin Neil:

  • Record: 5-4
  • Birthplace: Utah
  • Fighting out of: Lindon, Utah
  • Age: 30
  • Stat: One win by KO, one win by submission

 

Welcome to the UFC APEX, and congratulations on making it on the 30th season of The Ultimate Fighter. How does it feel to have this opportunity?

It’s like a dream to be competing on TUF. I’ve tried out for it before and didn’t make it, so it feels awesome to actually be on the season and go into the house. I’m stoked for it.

What season of The Ultimate Fighter did you try out for?

Season 26. DeAnna Bennett was on the season, she was my teammate up in Utah.

GET TO KNOW FLYWEIGHT KAYTLIN NEIL | THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER: TEAM PEÑA VS TEAM NUNES
GET TO KNOW FLYWEIGHT KAYTLIN NEIL | THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER: TEAM PEÑA VS TEAM NUNES
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How have you evolved since then? Do you feel that maybe you weren’t ready then?

I definitely wasn’t ready then. My record was 1-3 at the time. I knew I wasn’t going to make it on the show; I just wanted to get my name in there so the UFC knew who I was. Then I flipped things around and went 4-1 in my last five fights. So, that’s how I’ve evolved and I’m definitely ready now.

What do you attribute that switch to? Finding greater success?

A lot of it was my mentality. I would go into fights and hold back a little bit. Aggression is not my forte. So, once I started getting more aggressive and trusting and believing in myself and in my skills, that’s when things started to switch for me.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge on the show?

I think my biggest challenge going into the show will be staying out of my own head. I think being around a lot of the fighters, I get a little bit nervous. I think that’s pretty normal. I think I need to constantly remind myself, “I belong here. I deserve this.” I worked hard. I put in so many hours, so much time. I definitely belong here and deserve it and I can take the whole thing.

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You are living in the house with your opponents; do you see that causing any problems for you? Is that going to be a challenge for you?

I would say I’m a girl’s girl. I get along with anybody. If they have a problem with me, I kind of try to joke around with them, get them laughing, get them on my side. I don’t see myself being in too much in the drama unless someone really crosses me in the wrong way, then I’ll definitely stand up for myself. However, I just don’t see that happening.

Which coach do you think would better suite your style?

I think I would click better with Julianna (Peña). I think a lot of her style is closer to my style. Also, how she said in her last post-fight interview that willpower will take you further than skill, or something like that. That was a poor quotation of what she said, but it really clicked and I think because she does have that mentality, I can really learn and grasp that from her.

You used to be a cheerleader and transitioned to fighting, which isn’t something you always hear. Can you take us through that journey and why you made the switch?

I grew up doing dance, gymnastics, and cheerleading. I made varsity as a freshman, my cheerleading team took first place at every single competition that we went to. I was captain my senior year. So, I thought I was set when I went and tried out for the college team, and then when I went and didn’t see my name on the list I was like, “What the heck? What do I do now?” I knew I wanted to stay active and compete in something. So, I was thinking CrossFit or body building. I actually did a couple of body building shows, but I did not like it, I did not like the diet. So, my friends happened to take me to MMA fights my freshman year of college and there was one women’s fight on the card, and I was like, “I’m doing that.” So then after that, I found a gym and started training, and it’s been 10 years now.

Was there a fighter in the UFC you remember watching for the first time? Were there any women that you saw fight and thought, “Oh, I can do this.”

Yeah, when I first started, women weren’t allowed in the UFC. So, it’s kind of cool to see how the sport has evolved since then. There wasn’t a specific fighter that I looked up to at the time, except for probably Miesha Tate. Once The Ultimate Fighter came out with her season I was like, “Oh, I relate with her. I kind of look like her a little bit and I feel like I can be in a similar position to her one day. So, I think my first woman MMA fighter I looked up to was Miesha Tate.

Why do you believe that you’ll be the one to win this season of The Ultimate Fighter?

I think I’m going to be the winner of this season of The Ultimate Fighter because I’ve been through way too much in the past 10 years to not win and to not take it. I have tons of experience, I’ve been in the cage with all sorts of fighters, and I believe in myself. I believe in my ability, I believe in my team. In my coaches, my training partners I’ve been training with, and I think this is my time and I’m ready for it.