Despite being one of the smaller fighters in the division, Gunnar Nelson has been climbing up the welterweight ladder, going 5-1 in the UFC so far. The decorated grappler is one of the rare few who don't cut as much weight, and Nelson says he isn't really a fan of the rules that allow unhealthy cuts.
"I just think guys should fight [at] their weight. And as it is now, it’s not really the fighters, it’s the rules," Nelson told Submission Radio. "The fighters are just taking advantage of the rules, and they’re working it the way it is. And they’re actually fighting guys their weight, because everybody cuts so much weight, except me maybe and a few others."
"But I think they should change it so that people can just fight closer to the weight, so that people don’t have to be cutting all this weight to have to fight people their size."
Nelson has a bit of a suggestion on a possible rule change, even if he admittedly haven't put too much thought on it.
"I just think it’s a stupid, ridiculous situation that we’ve built up, and I feel like there’s ways around it and there’s ways to get rid of it," he said. "Like, that you can’t exceed into the next weight class, or over the next weight class above you, or something like that."
"You know, when you’re walking into the octagon, if you’re fighting at 77 kilos, and the next weight class is 84 kilos or something, you can’t be over 84 kilos. ‘Cause then you’re over the next weight class. That could be a rule, or something like that. I don’t want to think about this too much, but I definitely have an opinion on this, and that is it."
"People don’t have to go through all this cutting. Like I said, there’s been a lot of accidents, and it’s definitely not good for the athletes in this sport. It’s not good for your health, it’s not good for your brain. It’s just it’s not good. And I don’t see why we should be doing this. I think we should get rid of it, and I think we should get rid of it quickly."
One of the fighters cutting massive amounts of weight for bouts, is his very own teammate in Conor McGregor. The interim featherweight champ badly drains himself to make 145 lbs, and while it has worked well for him so far, Nelson believes he shouldn't do that for much longer.
"Yeah, (Conor) does a big cut and he doesn’t like it. And I don’t think he’s gonna do it that much longer. I think he’s gonna move up," he stated. "I think he wants to move up, and I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t be able to do this cut too many times, and it definitely takes it out of you. There is no doubt."
"He has a lot of energy and he’ll toughen through it and all that, and fight really well, even though he does this cut. But I just think, looking ahead, that this is not good for your health," he said. "I don’t think he should do it many more times. And I’ve told him that, and that’s my opinion."
Nelson competes alongside McGregor at UFC 194. He faces Demian Maia, a former middleweight title contender who cut down to 170.