Dillon Danis is arguably Conor McGregor's most popular training partner today, but what happened to Gunnar Nelson?
Even before Conor McGregor started making a name for himself in the UFC, another member of the famed SBG Ireland Gym was already tearing through the promotion's welterweight division. Gunnar Nelson made his UFC debut in September of 2012, around half a year before McGregor.
Gunnar Nelson blasted through his first four UFC bouts, winning three by submission. Soon enough, people started hailing him as a star in the making. Nelson possessed the same karate-style stance that former UFC champion Lyoto Machida had, paired with a stone-cold, emotionless demeanor. Through his first four UFC bouts, Nelson seemed unstoppable.
Then, the unthinkable happened. Gunnar Nelson lost by split decision to Rick Story, the first loss of his UFC - and professional career. Nelson bounced back by turning in another impressive performance in his submission of Brandon Thatch. The win set up a showdown against fellow submission specialist Demian Maia.
Maia dominated Nelson en route to a unanimous decision win, obliterating the once unbeatable aura that Nelson had.
After his loss to Maia, Nelson would again bounce back impressively, scoring back-to-back submission wins over Albert Tumenov and Alan Jouban.
Just as Nelson looked like he was back on track, he would get stopped for the first time in his career. Santiago Ponzinibbio handed Nelson his first KO loss - albeit mired in controversy after numerous eye pokes.
Nelson bounced back impressively once again though, winning by submission over Alex Oliveira. Unfortunately, he would not be able to sustain the momentum once again, as he absorbed back-to-back losses against Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns, two top contenders in the welterweight division.
Where is Gunnar Nelson now?
Gunnar Nelson's last appearance inside the UFC octagon was back in September of 2019, in a unanimous decision loss to number one welterweight contender Gilbert Burns.
Since then, Nelson has been inactive in the UFC, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought on numerous lockdowns and travel restrictions all over the world.
While Nelson has not competed in over a year, he remains active in the gym, coaching and training in at Mjolnir MMA, his home gym in Iceland.
With 2021 shaping up to be a promising year for the UFC, it's likely that we see Nelson return to the octagon soon.Published 03 Jan 2021, 20:07 IST