Who is TUF 30 fighter: Kaytlin Neil?

Kaytlin Neil (Photo by Amy Kaplan/FanSided)
Kaytlin Neil (Photo by Amy Kaplan/FanSided) /

The Ultimate Fighter will see Kaytlin Neil join the show for the 30th season.

Fighting out of Syndicate Martia Arts in Las Vegas NV, and Agema Jiu-Jitsu in Provo, UT is Kaytlin Neil, a self-professed reality tv show fan. The 30-year-old from Lindon never thought she’d be a mixed martial artist when she was growing up, instead of focusing on dance, gymnastics, and cheerleading.

Yet, when she got to college, she found she didn’t have what it takes to make the college cheer-team, and instead looked for another outlet to focus her competitive nature towards. Other avenues explored but not pursued included Crossfit and bodybuilding.

Then after a fateful night out to an MMA event, Neil saw two women battle it out inside the ring and realized that it was  MMA that she wanted to switch her focus to. It wasn’t an easy start, as her desire wavered the first time she took a punch to the face, but still, she persisted.

Kaytlin Neil was second-guessing her choice of MMA

It wasn’t just the first punch that made her question herself. No, she started off her pro career very rough. She opened up 1-3 across four promotions, with her lone win being in Bellator, the second biggest promotion in the United States. She defeated Brooke Mayo by decision but a third loss following her lone win was a lot for the young fighter, telling reporters;

“I was definitively second-guessing myself at that point. I went 1-3 in my first four fights and it was embarrassing. I was like ‘what am I doing? this is so embarrassing.’ People already don’t believe in me because I was a cheerleader and so I definitely had to make some mental adjustments and focus more on aggression and believing in myself, believing in my skills, believing I belong there, believing that I was actually a professional athlete and that I was a professional fighter. And so once those things started clicking a little bit more, I turned around and went 4-1 in my last five. So yeah, it definitively was an adjustment.”

The change in attitude was all she needed, as her general fighting style remained the same. She considers herself to be a technical fighter and believes she’s every bit as capable as anyone she’s ever fought. Despite her belief in her own skillset, she still does feel that she needs to prove herself; despite having tenure on some others in the house.

That may be why she intends on going into the house to “stir up some stuff”, even though she doesn’t want to be dramatic.

She’s just a fan of reality tv, after all. She knows how the game is played but is hoping to not fall into one of the stereotypical archetypes of such shows. Like with other fighters this season, the hope is that Neil learns a lot during the show.

When asked how she hopes fans view her fights, she was very clear;

“As far as fights go, you’re just going to see a catfight.”

Now she’ll get the chance to learn under either Amanda Nunes or Julianna Pena, an opportunity that could make her the next great fighter.

Next. The Ultimate Fighter Season 30 begins May 3 on ESPN+. dark

The Ultimate Fighter Season 30 begins May 3 on ESPN+.