clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rematch with Demian Maia is a ‘dream’ for Gunnar Nelson

Nelson revealed that he will be rooting for Maia when he takes on Tyron Woodley at UFC 214.

Gunnar Nelson admits that he was hoping for a bigger opponent ahead of this Sunday’s UFC Glasgow card, where he will meet Santiago Ponzinibbio.

Nelson, who is coming off a win over Alan Jouban at UFC London in March, claimed that the UFC told him he would get a “top-ranked” or “top 10” opponent after beating the American, but nobody was available to take the July 16 bout against him.

“We were thinking that we would get a top-ranked guy or a top ten (fighter) at least,” Nelson told Ariel Helwani on the latest installment of The MMA Hour.

“That’s what (UFC) was trying to get us in London. Then they said I was fighting Jouban and then after that, they said that they would definitely give me a top ten guy, or top ranked guy, or whatever.

“I guess they couldn’t find it. I don’t know what happened, but it was getting close and I wanted to fight on the (Glasgow) card as well. Ponzinibbio stepped up and I said yes.”

Although he did not secure an opponent in the higher echelons of the welterweight division, Nelson said he wasn’t concerned about facing Ponzinibbio instead.

“No, not really,” said Nelson, when asked if he struggled to get motivated for the Ponzinibbio fight.

“You know how I am, I’m not really that fussed. I definitely would’ve liked to get a top ten (opponent), but when you realize it’s out of the picture or (UFC) said it wasn’t going to happen, or there were some people injured or they just didn’t have anyone for me, I just took him.

“As I said before, they’re all tough guys and I believe that it’s just part of my journey.”

Again, should he have his hand raised at the SSE Hydro, Nelson will look to for a matchup at the top of the bracket.

The Icelandic submission ace also stated that he has “a little dream” of a rematch with Demian Maia, which would ideally be contested for the UFC’s welterweight title.

“Anyone in the top ten or preferably, anyone in the top five. As I’ve said before, my mind doesn’t really work that way. I don’t really put faces on my opponents anyway. I just want to face the top guys.

“I would also like to get the chance to fight (Demian) Maia at some point, that’s a little dream of mine. I’d like to be able to challenge him maybe for the title if he gets it, which I hope he does.”

Nelson believes Maia has the tools to beat welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley, when they clash at UFC 214.

“I think he definitely can (win), yeah. I think so. I’m rooting for him anyway. I pretty much always root for him when he’s fighting, except for when he’s fighting me, but that didn’t help, did it?”

John Kavanagh was petitioning for Nelson to meet Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson after submitting Jouban in March. ‘Gunni’ confirmed that Thompson was another opponent that appeals to him.

“Yeah, definitely. I would love to fight him,” he said.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting