UFC 286 star Gunnar Nelson: Training partner Conor McGregor to destroy Michael Chandler in return fight

Conor McGregor will destroy Michael Chandler in his expected comeback fight later this year as long as he prepares properly, says one of the former UFC two-weight champion’s teammates and training partners.

More than 20 months after suffering a staggering fracture in a second straight loss to Dustin Poirier, McGregor remains the most recognizable name in MMA and is expected to return against Chandler in the second half of 2023. The two just wrapped up taping the final season of The Ultimate Fighter.

“If Conor is properly trained and in shape, he’ll kick the S— out of him,” Gunnar Nelson told The Sporting News. Nelson has stayed in touch with McGregor and believes the Irishman could take on former Bellator champion Chandler at the light heavyweight division.

Nelson faces Bryan Barbarena led by Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 3 for the UFC Welterweight Title on March 18 at UFC 286.

MORE: Sign in to watch the UFC 286 PPV exclusively on ESPN+

“He does Conor stuff,” Nelson explained. “He looks big; he looks very tall, so I wouldn’t be surprised [at a light heavyweight fight]. We speak every now and then. Not too much, just Instagram and stuff.”

Colorful Icelander Nelson had his own octagonal exile, spending more than two years without a fight following his loss to Gilbert Burns in September 2019 before returning victorious to Takashi Sato in March 2022.

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and 2009 Pan American Games gold medalist has become known for dancing in pop videos at his Mjolnir gym in Reykjavik, where he dances to chart hits where he has put his own spin on tunes, including Sia’s “Chandelier”. “Call On Me” by Eric Prydz and “Beat It” by Michael Jackson.

Read  Celta Vigo vs. Real Madrid live score, updates, highlights & lineups from La Liga 2022/23

“We should do one last year,” he scolded. “These Covid years f —— all good, right? I know we have one planned, planned and not done yet, so one should be coming soon. I can’t tell you which song.”

MORE: Conor McGregor’s next fight: opponent, ultimate fighter role

Meanwhile, Nelson has become infatuated with golf and is moving to Barcelona to play a sport he finds harder than fighting.

“I got down to handicap 15, which isn’t bad,” he said. “Golf is super, super hard. In many ways, golf is much more difficult than MMA. You can be so great and then the next F——shot, you’re the worst player in the world. It’s also mental, ‘Cause if you don’t stay together you’ll go crazy.”

Nelson’s opponent at UFC 286, Barberena, isn’t shy about showing himself either, appearing for his pre-fight media duties in little more than blue dungarees and sandals. Barbarena is 3-1 in their last four fights but lost to Rafael dos Anjos in December.

MORE: Everything you need to know about UFC 286: Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 3

The southpaw is “exciting” and will “not try to win on points,” said Nelson, who trained with Bellator welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov in McGregor’s hometown of Dublin.

“He’s a great guy,” Nelson said of the Ukrainian-born Amosov. “He doesn’t speak much English so in a way it was a bit difficult to connect. But we made it and trained a good bit together. He’s a phenomenal wrestler with a great training atmosphere. He’s a great training partner and super, super good, so it was great.”

Read  Rubio making his mark on the Rapids' record books, brings momentum to Colorado's 2022 season

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button