“I want to finish everyone I fight” – Gunnar Nelson ahead of Story bout

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Gunnar Nelson headlines his first UFC event tomorrow night in Stockholm, Sweden a neighbour to his native Iceland, where he should command the majority of the crowd’s support when he faces promotional veteran Rick Story.

Having such a small distance to travel as opposed to his American counterpart affords the stoic Scandinavian some extra comforts, but ‘Gunni’ maintains at the top of the sport all athletes know how to accommodate their bodies for combat after a long journey.

“I do believe it has some affect,” said Nelson on Story’s excursion, “but to be honest guys like him who have been in the sport for a long time, he’s used to it and he’ll get over it fine.”

Claiming three finishes out of his four UFC bouts to date, Nelson stressed the importance of stopping his opponents on route to his desired destination – a shot at the promotion’s welterweight title.

“Of course it’s important,” Nelson declared. “I want to finish everyone I fight. That’s the way I fight and I always work for the finish. I’m going out to finish everyone I fight and I believe that I will have to fight all of the top ten guys in the division if they stick around. My plan is to finish all of them.”

Nelson highlighted his eagerness for taking on the athletes at the top of the highly competitive bracket to prove he is worthy of a crack at the 170 lbs title.

He said: “I would definitely like to get top ranked guys. I believe it’s going to be one or two more guys from the top of the rankings and then I’ll get my title shot. I think if I keep winning impressively it’s going to be quicker for me to get to the top.”

The Mjolnir man outlined the main reasons he competes in MMA, insisting if there was no money involved in the fight game he would still be training and competing.

“The main reason I’m in this sport is because I love it, I love the training and I love the competition. To get money for doing it is just a bonus.”

Nelson discussed how the birth of his son prior to UFC’s Dublin return on July 19 hasn’t changed his approach to MMA, citing the effort of his girlfriend with regard to his first born as one of the main reasons he didn’t have to adapt:

“My feeling towards fighting have stayed the same since my son was born. It obviously changes a few things. It gives you a lot, you know? It gives you energy when you think about them.

“It hasn’t changed the way I train. My girlfriend takes very good care of our child. I have to travel quite a bit and train a lot of the time, so I’m glad that she does such a good job as a mother.”

Nelson has commented on the vast improvements he believes he has made with his game in the lead up to the Ericsson Globe date and he is sure that his evolution will be clear for all to see when he takes to the Octagon on Saturday night.

“You should definitely see my improvements on Saturday night,” stated the John Kavanagh product. “When you’ve been training this long it takes longer for you to climb over some barriers. I feel there’s been a huge jump in my game recently and it’s going to show on Saturday.”

Although he is not as vocal as some in his pursuit of UFC’s top prize, Nelson has never shied away from media demands – something he believes is all part and parcel of his career at the forefront of the sport.

“There are a lot more media obligations when you’re headlining a show. It’s just been constantly building. Every fight there’s been more so I’m kind of on that path anyway. Being main event now just takes it one step up from what it usually is, but we’re used to it and we just do our best.

“I wouldn’t be the most vocal person in my team, or even in the UFC for that matter but I deal with it. It can be good and bad, but it definitely helps the sport. Everyone is doing their job for the sport.

“My job is to be a fighter and do the best I can. Your job is to get some answers out of me and get into my mind a little bit. I appreciate all of the factors because it wouldn’t be what it is without that,” he acknowledged.

Given his propensity to finish with chokes, Nelson gave his take on the method of victory that he has claimed six victims to date with.

“I have always thought that chokes are the best way to take somebody out. Maybe you can go for an arm, so you break your opponent’s arm but they can always keep going. Maybe you go for a shoulder or for a knee, but they can keep going after that too.

“It’s nice and peaceful when you go for the choke really. Once you have the choke on you know your opponent is not going to carry on. That’s it. It’s done. It doesn’t matter how big or how strong you are, you can always get choked out,” he said.

Finally Nelson forecasted what he intends to do when he meets Story in Saturday night’s main event:

“I’m just going to take the fight where ever it goes, it doesn’t bother me if it’s standing or on the ground. There’s no area of game that I’m ever looking to show off. I’ll just go in there and feel out the situation and let nature take its course.

“I will be trying to finish the fight and I will not delay it.”

@PetesyCarroll

 

Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.