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Gunnar Nelson: Conor McGregor needs time to train, get some space

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McGregor's teammate in Gunnar Nelson says Conor felt like he wasn't getting the proper space to train properly.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gunnar Nelson is fighting at UFC: Rotterdam this weekend, but with Conor McGregor's situation with the UFC dominating headlines, he naturally had to field inquiries about his high profile training partner.

"I haven't trained much with Conor since his last fight, but we did a week in Iceland," Nelson said, answering questions from the international media. "We always focus quite a bit on grappling, so I think his focus will be as it has been. Maybe focus on some specific things for his opponent, who is going to be again, bigger and longer. Some tactical strategies maybe for him specifically."

Apart from setting a game plan for a potential rematch with Nate Diaz, Nelson believes that McGregor just simply needs more hours in the gym.

"Also, I think he needs some time to train. Like we've seen, he 'retired' that other day because he felt like he wasn't getting the space to train. There was too many media obligations and things like that. If that's how he feels, he definitely needs to get time to train on his own, and get some space."

The whirlwind of controversy followed soon after McGregor was pulled out of UFC 200, with the Irishman saying he wants a lighter load promoting the card this time around. This all happened as Gunnar was preparing for a bout against Albert Tumenov.

"No. It didn't affect my fight (training) at all. I just kept my schedule," he said calmly. "He came over to help me train, but no, it didn't affect my training camp at all."

"This could very well be a grappler vs striker match up. But sometimes when you go up against somebody where it is totally obvious what either guy wants to do, something different happens," he said. "So maybe I'll use some of my other tools, and surprise him on the feet."

Apart from facing a dangerous striker, he will once again go up against what would probably be a heavier and stronger opponent. Nelson has always been against cutting weight, and facing massive opponents won't convince him to follow suit on what he calls a 'stupid' practice.

"I believe I'm one of the very few welterweights at welterweight," Nelson said. "I'm going to stay here. I don't believe in all this weight cutting."

"I think, and I hope, that slowly they will get rid of it. So I will be in weight class still, and there will be people in this weight class that are welterweights. People will move up, and some lightweights will move up to welterweight too.

"Yeah, I'm going to stay here. I don't mind fighting the bigger guy."

Following an impressive win over Brandon Thatch, Nelson succumbed to fellow BJJ ace Demian Maia last December. He will be part of the UFC Fight Night 87 main card, as he looks to end Tumenov's 5-fight winning streak.