Gunnar Nelson will fight Alan Jouban in the co-main event on UFC Fight Night London in March. Gunnar is happy to be have a date and is looking forward to get back to the Octagon.
The fight will take place at The O2 Arena in London on the 18th of March. Gunnar is familiar with the arena after defeating Omari Akhmedov in that same arena in 2014.
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“I’ve fought in England a few times before and always enjoyed it. It’s fun to fight in front of the English and I used to train there all the time [early in my career],” Gunnar told MMA Fréttir.
The card is only five weeks ahead but Gunnar isn’t exactly getting up from the couch and right into training camp. “I’ve been training well the past weeks but he is also just getting a five week notice. Unless the UFC has been planning this for 12 weeks and are just letting me know now (laughs) which I seriously doubt is the case. This is great, I’ve been training well and I will be ready.”
Gunnar trains at Mjölnir MMA in Iceland but splits his time between Mjölnir and SBG Dublin during his training camps. “I don’t know where my camp will be for this fight, that will get sorted this week. I love it when I can get a few good guys to come to Iceland to train, that is what I usually prefer so I can stay close to my son. But it’s also good to just get away [to Ireland] and focus on preparing. We’ll see, both has it’s pros and cons.”
Mjölnir will open a new monstrous 32.000 square feet training facility on the 18th of February. Gunnar’s training partner and friend, Conor McGregor, will not be able to attend the opening ceremony as was hoped or pay him a visit during the camp. “I think Conor is having a little vacation with his girlfriend to be fair. She’s of course expecting and unable to travel at this time. I think he is taking a little break which is good for him.”
“It would be awesome to get him here for the opening ceremony and pay us a visit. But I completely understand if he wants to take a break and think about something else for a while. Although I doubt he is capable of. He is probably on the sidelines plotting a money fight with ‘Money’ Mayweather.”
The no. 9 ranked Gunnar last fought in May when he defeated Albert Tumenov by submission in the second round. Initially Gunnar hoped for someone ranked as his next opponent but is happy to face the unranked Alan Jouban.
“I’m happy to get this fight. We were trying to get someone ranked to be honest and that might have made more sense for me. However, I haven’t fought for almost a year and although I wanted to get someone ranked, no one was available right now. There were about five [ranked] fighters who we were trying to get but all of them were injured. It’s unbelievable how many guys are injured.”
“Besides, it’s on relatively short notice but we have been trying to get booked on this London card for a while now. But Jouban is a really good fighter, I’m not looking past him or anything like that. He’s on a three fight winning streak I believe and is a well rounded fighter.”
“I was prepared to fight despite not getting the perfect dream opponent. That’s not usually my thing to think too much about the opponent. I of course want to challenge myself and climb up the rankings, but the way I see it, everyone in or around the top 15 is dangerous. You are always challenging yourself and everyone has different styles and you learn something from fighting every one of them.”
Jouban’s modelling career is well documented and hasn’t gone unnoticed. “It’s too bad he has such a pretty face, I’ll probably feel guilty by punching him in the face. I need to think how I’ll approach this,” Gunnar says with a laugh.
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