Following a stint on The Ultimate Fighter that was less than exemplary, Nelson had managed to start rebuilding his career when a loss in Japan in February against Takasuke Kume halted his momentum.
“I shouldn’t have even taken that fight. I didn’t know what I was getting into,” said Nelson. “The guy putting on the show was actually the head trainer of the guy I fought, so it was kind of a conflict of interest and not too professional how they ran that show.”
Prior to the loss to Kume, Nelson had won three fights in a row following his release from the UFC in 2009.
“After the UFC, I took a year off and went back to training jiu-jitsu and got back to basics; back to having fun training and not having to train for a fight; and just got my hunger back,” said Nelson.
“After I left the UFC, I was kind of depressed and didn’t know what I wanted to do, but once I fought that first fight and won, and saw that my game had improved from my year off, I got some more wins and put together a good streak.”
Nelson will have an opportunity to rebound on Oct. 26 for the Maximum Fighting Championship at MFC 35 against Graham Spencer live on AXS TV.
“Of course, I think at some point in the fight I’ll be on my back because he looks like he’s pretty relentless and will keep shooting until he gets me there, so my job will be to not let him hold me there,” said Nelson. “I’ll try to work a couple submissions and if that doesn’t work, I’ll try to get back to my feet.
“For this fight I just made sure that I’ll be in shape to defend takedowns as much as I can. And if he does take me down, make him pay, and rough him up on the feet and make it into a fight where it’s not a clinch-fighting game. I’m looking to be aggressive and hit him more times than he hits me.”
Nelson told MMAWeekly.com that he looks at this fight as a chance to start the next phase of his career.
“For sure, this is a fresh start at 145 pounds,” said Nelson. “If the UFC would have had a 145-pound division (at the time), I would have been in it, but they didn’t, and to me the reason I lost those fights were because I was the smaller guy. It wasn’t because I was out-classed. They were just bigger guys who were able to control where the fight went.
“To me that’s way in the past. I was kind of younger and dumber. I have family now and stuff. That was the old me, and I’m trying to move forward. I try to be humble now. I learned my lesson about putting too much pressure on myself because I was talking smack. When you don’t perform after that or lose, it bites you in the ass.”
Nelson concluded, “Graham’s a tough guy; he’s got a good record and has beaten some notable guys, so I think this will be a good win for my first 145, especially if I can get a stoppage. I’m just going in head-first and we’ll see what happens.”
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