Gunnar Nelson is relishing the opportunity to headline UFC’s return to Belfast, North Ireland, and is promising a big performance against ‘dangerous’ Dong Hyun Kim in November.
The Icelandic training partner of Conor McGregor is no stranger to the Emerald Isle, having trained there for many years. He also competed on the UFC’s Dublin Fight Night event in 2014 and says that experience has got him very excited to compete in front of Irish fans again in Belfast.
“The last time I was in Ireland – in Dublin – it was something else. There was only about seven or eight thousand in the arena and it was like fighting in front of 20,000 people – insane Vikings, Celtic warriors. I think it’s going to be similar. It’s awesome to headline a card in Ireland against someone ranked in the top 10.”
‘Gunni’ – currently ranked at number 12 in the UFC’s official rankings – will take a step up after dispatching Albert Tumenov in May. But his opponent on November 19th should be less predictable than the pure strike he submitted in Rotterdam.
The Korean ‘Stun Gun’ began life in the Octagon as a grinding grappler, but has since shown an ability to throw caution to the wind and get involved in heavy firefights on the feet featuring some wild exchanges and spinning techniques.
But however the fight plays out, Nelson says he’s prepared to take advantage and move ahead of the man currently regarded as the number 10 contender in the UFC’s welterweight division.
“He’s a well-rounded guy. He’s kinda changed a little bit so it’s hard to know what to expect from him,” Nelson tells FO, “but I definitely think he’s going to try and keep this fight on the feet. But you never know. Maybe he wants to get on top and do his thing. We’ll see. I’ll keep my eyes open.
“It can be dangerous going for all these spinning attacks – for both guys. It can catch you off guard, but it can also be a reckless move. We saw that against Woodley whereas against Hathaway it went the other way around and he caught him with that spinning elbow. You’ve got to keep your eyes open and your mind sharp and you can definitely take advantage of those attacks.
“Every fighter has his own kind of energy. He’s a judo fighter and I’ve fought a couple of judo fighters before – not in the UFC – and they have their own sense of balance. But there are some good ways to counter their throws and stuff like that. I’m quite used to it. We have a few good judo guys in our team and I’ve fought many judo guys in grappling tournaments. There’s always good ways to figure out a way to win.”