Conor McGregor was forced to prepare for Khabib Nurmagomedov without his longtime training partner, Gunnar Nelson in his camp, but the latter says that won’t be the case next time around.
The Icelandic fighter and renowned grappler wasn’t in McGregor’s camp for the October 6th, UFC 229 fight, due to a knee injury he was dealing with. As you know, Nurmagomedov’s wrestling and top game proved to be too much for McGregor, and the lightweight champ submitted him in round four.
“That was mostly because of my knee, you know,” said Nelson. “When the whole [camp] was starting, I wasn’t training, I couldn’t do much and it seemed like Conor has a pretty good team around him, as usual.”
“After the fight I was thinking, ‘Man, I should’ve been there,’ and I was saying that to my coach John [Kavanagh],” he remembered. “He said to me, ‘To be fair, you were hurt, you couldn’t really train.’ It would have been only the last bit of the camp that I would have been able to take part in, I guess.”
Nelson also reportedly said that he will “definitely” be in McGregor’s training camp if there’s a rematch with Nurmagomedov. Now, would Nelson’s presence have made a difference in the first bout’s outcome?
As most people expected would be the case, McGregor was ultimately overmatched by Khabib’s galaxy class wrestling. So, it’s unlikely that Nelson’s participation in the camp would have changed that.
But, who knows? Maybe Nelson would have had some tips for Conor that could have been useful in some of the scrambles on the ground? Or to the negate face crush / neck crank that ended the bout? In other words, Nelson’s attendance certainly wouldn’t have hurt.
In terms of Gunnar’s career, recently the welterweight returned to the cage at UFC 231 and submitted Alex Oliveira.