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22nd Jan 2019

Gunnar Nelson wasn’t looking to fight Leon Edwards at UFC London

'Gunni' was targeting a different opponent

Darragh Murphy

Gunnar Nelson had a different opponent in mind when he was approached to fight on the upcoming UFC London card.

Nelson is making up for lost time after the longest lay-off of his professional career when he meets Leon Edwards in the co-main event of the UFC’s return to the O2 Arena on March 16.

The Icelandic welterweight enjoyed a successful comeback following a lengthy spell on the sidelines when he submitted Alex Oliveira last month after forcing a gruesome cut on his Brazilian opponent.

SBG’s Nelson wanted to waste no time and quickly booked his next bout but he has admitted that Birmingham’s Edwards wasn’t his original pick.

“We were looking for some other names, (Jorge) Masvidal or (Darren) Till would have been great,” Nelson told Peter Carroll on Eurobash. “I think there were some other names on the table, I can’t remember exactly. I wasn’t really eyeing Leon, I knew he was going to be on the card, but I thought he had already been matched up.

“There was some discussion, I don’t know about who, but that’s what we heard. I guess that didn’t come true. For a while they were saying that I wouldn’t be on the London card. They told me that they would bring me to do the States for my next one. I was a little bit bummed because I wanted to be on the London card, but then this came up and we took it.”

The two names ‘Gunni’ was initially chasing, Till and Masvidal, will do battle over five rounds in the main event and Nelson’s head coach, John Kavanagh, has a tremendous idea for how the 170lbs title frame should shake out after St. Patrick’s weekend.

Kavanagh has suggested that the winners of Nelson vs. Edwards and Till vs. Masvidal ought to meet in summer with the victor of that bout going on to meet whoever holds the 170lbs strap at the end of the year.