UFC Welterweight Gunnar Nelson has made a solid impression since joining the promotion back in 2012. ‘Gunni’ submitted Demarques Johnson in his debut and went on to win a decision over Jorge Santiago. The BJJ black belt will square off against Omari Akhmedov at UFC Fight Night 37, looking to extend his record to 11-0-1 record.
Nelson is a Renzo Gracie fighter, and the legendary Jiu Jitsu fighter/trainer stopped by to talk with The Telegraph about his Welterweight prospect:
"He absolutely will win the UFC title. I have no doubt he can beat the very best in the [welterweight] division. How fast he wants to win it is up to him, but I think he can beat everyone in the division within the next two years. He has nothing to worry about on the ground or striking. People are going to know a lot about him very soon. He's a great student, a great kid and -- I promise you my friend -- he will be a great champion."
The Welterweight division is a very different place than it was this time last year; mainly due to former overlord Georges St-Pierre vacating his title and seemingly distancing himself from the promotion that he helped build for so many years.
Nelson’s grappling prowess have seen him earn seven professional submission wins in MMA, a NAGA Middleweight championship and four no gi Jiu Jitsu medals. He is yet to fight anyone of real notability in the UFC, but three straight in the 170lb. division could land the Icelandic prodigy in a very meaningful match up.
With the title being contested by Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks at UFC 171, and the same card playing host to a contender match between Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley, it may be a while before Gunnar gets a sniff of a title shot. At 25 years old, Nelson is likely yet to reach his prime and could well be a serious force in the division.
Back fighting in England in England for the seventh time in his career, Nelson will feel right at home as he goes up against the Russian Sambo specialist Akhmedov. What do you think, will Gracie’s words prove to be accurate as Nelson gears up for a war with ‘Lakec’?