Ep. #70 – Kyle Nelson

Kyle Nelson is a mixed martial artist who competes in the Featherweight division of the UFC. The Ontario, Canada native has picked up thirteen wins which include nine by way of stoppage.


Kyle Nelson: All right man, how uh? How have you been throughout the the pandemic and how? How have things uh? How are things there in ontario uh, so i’ve been pretty good, i mean i’ve still been able to. You know, stay in shape for the most part um. You know still got my runs in and stuff and you know doing a lot of bag, work and stuff like that, so um yeah, so i’ve stayed in pretty good shape, um as far as ontario my hometown, huntsville they’re, starting to open up pretty good now, but Where i’m staying in hamilton, because it’s pretty close to toronto, we’re about a week or two behind um everywhere else in ontario but yeah, it seems like we’re we’re moving towards uh opening up soon. So, even though that we were living through a pandemic, you went ahead and accepted a fight. Obviously, things fell through some visa issues, which i’m sure we’ll touch on a little bit but describe the decision behind accepting a fight. Obviously, your training probably wasn’t ideal and whatnot was part of it. Knowing that you know what my training is an ideal, but neither is his or what sort of things uh went behind that decision. Um, it was mainly just i haven’t – haven’t been able to get a fight so uh. You know i kind of jumped on the first opportunity. Uh they came up um, you know taking fights on short notice, obviously uh suck, because you can’t get a full training camp. Um it’s hard. I took it on about two weeks, so it’s hard to kind of um. You know get everything dialed in and get the weight right and stuff, but um. You know i didn’t want to want to turn down. You know a fight because uh it’s been almost years since i fought so we jumped on it and uh. You know worked really hard and you know um invested in in the two-week training camp. I was able to get my weight down and you know everything was looking great and uh yeah, then um. It was the monday before the fight um. They. Let me know that uh they weren’t able to get a visa for me and that the fight was off and then we kind of asked um. You know when, when i’m looking at getting another fight, then they said they don’t know right now, we’re just just trying to stay in shape and wait. I guess so describe kind of like the roller coaster of emotions. I mean you’ve got enough on your plate. You know you’ve got this pandemic you’re trying to make weight, you’ve got a fight, you’re preparing for and then on top of this something out of your control ends up kind of snatching that away from you so describe that sort of emotion like is it like? You know heartbreaking: what’s that sort of feeling like yeah yeah i mean it was it was pretty difficult um i mean we’ve been trying to get a fight for for a long time. I came out of that fight in september against polar rays. I was in good shape, didn’t take any damage in the fight, so i was ready to go uh. You know right after that, so uh you know i i’d like to try and stay busy and get as many fights as i can and uh. You know nothing really came up and then finally, something short notice and um. You know whenever you get a short notice, fight, you’re, always like oh shoot, can i make weight this or that then uh? You know it’s always a little more stressful, but um. You know. I was, i was excited to get a fight, so we jumped on it and then yeah for everything kind of went perfect. I thought it was a perfect opponent for me is in sean woodson. He had a lot of hype, he was undefeated um and i knew for sure you know i was going to walk in there and you know i was going to finish him for sure, but i was going to try and knock him out and uh. You know. I think i would have got that performance bonus and i would have stole all the hype from woodson and you know everything would have been you know. Happily ever after, but um yeah. Unfortunately they said they couldn’t get the visa and then yeah. Then it was like all that training. You know everything everything i was working towards kind of fell through and then not knowing. When i would get another opportunity to fight um also was um, you know pretty devastating if they just said. Oh, you know we’ll get you a fight in a month or something you know then i would have stayed stayed in the training camp and stuff and um. It would have something to look forward to, but right now with no fights and – and you know not really anything in the in the near future – it’s that hard to stay motivated. Is it a bit bittersweet knowing he lost like i, i know, i’m sure you don’t root against or for anybody. That’S uh that i guess isn’t part of your team and whatnot, but is a bit bittersweet knowing you know what like that could have been me. Picking up that w uh yeah for sure um, you know, and i think it went um exactly how i i thought it would for me. I think i would have finished in the first round, but i think we saw a lot of holes in his game um. You know a lot of the stuff that i’m good at and the stuff that i was working uh for that fight worked well against in that fight, and i think, with my power and stuff uh, you know it would have worked even better and i would have Been able to finish them and um yeah, i know um um, the guy that beat him got the bonus and everything. So i think julian julian rossi got the bonus. Uh performance bonus, so uh yeah, i think um. I would have been able to go in and do the do the same thing so um i mean i’m happy for julian. I know him from training with him in vegas, so if it had to be somebody uh to take my spot, i’m glad it was him but um. You know it’s really um really felt like it was my moment so you’re now three fights into your ufc career. How good did it feel they pick up that first, w last time out against polo, i felt amazing um. You know it’s hard to call yourself a ufc fighter until you’ve won a fight in the ufc um. You know, i think i was able to showcase some of my skills and stuff. My first two fights my first fight was on short notice, and you know for the first kind of round there first half around um. You know i felt like i was. I was doing what i, what i’m capable of and then just wasn’t able to maintain that pace. I think with the adrenaline dump and stuff and then my second fight against matt sales. I thought i was in great shape. Um we changed everything for the training camp. Um, i know i looked in great shape, but um it just didn’t just didn’t perform. Well. You know i had my moments. I was able to take his back and take him down stuff like that, but uh. You know i think um this third, the third fight. I was able to kind of get my mind right and um. You know stick to the game plan and i think that’s kind of more what we’re gon na see for me in the future, um and really what i should have done in my my first two fights but um. You know we got it all figured out and dialed in now and moving forward we’re gon na keep finishing components so talking about the future. What is next, what sort of timeline are you looking for? I mean, obviously, you were ready to go a little while ago. Um, like you, said, you’re staying in shape. If the call were to come, are you good to go and is there an opponent in mind or a location? Obviously you were just in fight island. So i’m sure that would have been a hell of an opportunity there. If you got a short notice call, but is there a? Is there a location preference? Is there an opponent preference? Are you just good to go whenever uh just good to go? Whenever i mean i’ve been, you know good to go for a while. Now um and i you know, i’d prefer vegas. I think just because of time, change and stuff like that. But um you know fight island works too um. You know i’d love to you, know, finish uh, you know, settle or settle my business with uh sean woodson um. I don’t know how he’s doing right now. If he’s got a suspension or he’s a little beat up still uh, but i mean alex cassares too. I think would be a great fight. A lot of people have mentioned him and uh. You know he’s been in the ufc for a long time. I think he’s a good matchup for me and i’ve been an exciting fight. So uh you don’t need another guy. On my radar and then obviously matt sales, i’d love to avenge that loss one day um, you know i’m sure i need to get a couple wins under my belt before i can go asking too much from the ufc but yeah i mean really really anything as Soon as possible yeah i, like those matchups, i mean i was thinking you know, juliana rosa because he got that win but but, like you said, you guys train, and so i’m sure you know him pretty well. So i don’t know if that would work out. I think alex caceres is booked, but i, like all those matchups man, i think they’re. I think they’re great um, so turn around time. Does it next weekend good like it? What sort of turnaround do you need? Is it several weeks? Is it? Is it just? A few days, what what sort of turnaround would you like uh? I mean right now um, since it sounds like everything’s kind of booked up. I mean i wouldn’t mind you know a month uh or a month and a half to get ready um, but i think i mean 145 as long as i’ve got like two weeks notice. I can make it anything less than two weeks. You know i’ll jump on a 155 fight, but uh just not sure if it’s, if it’s healthy for me to try and make 145 on less than two weeks but um yeah, i mean i’m willing to go up to 155 again on on short notice, um yeah. So there was a uh there’s, a lot of hype, uh about uh, abu, dhabi and and fight island. As someone who’s been there and experienced it, did it live up to the height i mean it was super interesting uh. You know it’s just i mean still with that. With the pandemic, going on and everything everything’s, so restricted and kind of shut down um. You know we had uh had fight island, but it was, you know it was. It was pretty empty, so it was just us fighters and the people working at the hotel so um. There wasn’t a whole lot to do you kind of go to the beach or you could hang out at the hotel. So um it was cool and like we were in quarantine for the first two days, then we got out kind of roamed around the island for a day or two and then um. You know, then it was, you know, got a little boring, but um i mean we’re not there to have fun right, we’re there to uh. I was there to help corner my my training partner. So i mean that’s where all our focus went: anyways yeah, that fight didn’t go uh didn’t go her way, but um, one of the things i’ve been wondering was what was it like in the corner? I mean i’m sure that empty arena probably felt really unusual from uh. From a coroner’s perspective, i mean you can give advice throughout the entire fight, whereas you know, if there’s a full arena, it’s kind of hard for them to hear you. What was that? What was that like? Yeah yeah? It was definitely interesting. You know walking out to a no crowd and everything um and then yeah being able to uh. You know to hear so well and and and to be able to speak and know that they can hear you um. You know it was. It was interesting. I i enjoyed it um. I think i would still prefer the fans. Maybe i prefer the fans for when i fight when i’m cornering it’s it’s almost easier uh when there is no fans um, but yeah i mean it was. It was a super interesting thing and i mean it looks like that’s what we’re going to be doing uh for the near future, anyways until stuff uh opens up so uh yeah. So are you? Are you looking forward to to having that experience fighting in an empty arena, and do you think it i find a lot of fighters that would benefit their performance. A fighter who’s you know, uh like feeds off the crowd, would almost benefit not having a crowd there. As for you, do you think that’s something that you know may hinder you uh may benefit you. You saw it with anthony smith, where i think you know he was listening to his corner almost too much where he gassed out um for you. Have you experienced anything like that, and what do you think would be like being the person inside the octagon um yeah, so i i don’t think it would affect me at all. I i think, there’s some people that feed off the crowd in a positive way and feed off the crowd in a negative way um. So i don’t. I enjoy the crowd, especially when you know i i enjoy the the hostile crowd and i enjoy the you know. The friendly fan crowd so i’m in canada and they’re cheering for me. It’S awesome feels great and when you know i’m down in mexico or something they’re cheering against me uh, it also fuels me a little bit, but for the most part um, you know i’m there to do my job and i stay focused on on myself and doing What i’m supposed to do so, i don’t let um too much outside influence. Uh really affect me um and then yeah. I mean, as far as you know, being able to hear my corner. Better um will be uh it’d be interesting. I mean i usually hear them. Anyways, i can pick them out of the crowd and then um. You know they give me advice as i’m fighting, but it’s not always. I mean i’m the one in the ring. So sometimes you kind of take that advice. Sometimes you leave it. You know it’s um. You still got ta, you can’t kind of listen to everything, they say um, i think kind of like anthony smith, did and then kind of went um. You know above and beyond and burned himself out and sometimes when you’re in there and you’re feeling your opponent, you know in your head what ideas are going to kind of work. What was the uh, the health and safety like there? I mean i’m sure we hear it all the time i mean dana white’s been getting tests after test after test. As someone who’s been there experienced it, was it really above and beyond, and they went like what was it like? Being someone who who went through that and secondly, did you get the nose test or the throat one uh? Yes, i mean the the health and safety step was um. You know it was as good as i could imagine. I couldn’t imagine you know anything else. I can’t imagine anything above and beyond, like they did everything possible uh for the health and safety. So um. You know we flew from from toronto. Down to vegas. Uh did a test as soon as we got there. Then we were quarantined for 24 hours. Then we got on um, you know like a bus with just the other fighters that were that were um, quarantine and tested went to the airport where we went into like our own private turn terminal onto our chartered flight with everyone. That’S been tested, um and then once i was in abu dhabi, i was tested another four times and then um. You know they sanitized and sterilized everybody and everything as they went to the hotel, um and then everybody’s always wearing masks. Everyone at the hotel had the full like white suit and stuff on and masks and um some of that shields on and stuff. So it was uh. It couldn’t get much better. I don’t think uh health and safety, wise um and then yeah for the test. We got the option whether to do uh in the nose or in the mouth, so uh i did in the mouth for all of them. I thought about trying the nose at the end for the last one but uh yeah i was. I was pretty comfortable and used to the mouth once i was stuck with it. I did. I did the nose one pretty early on, i got tested, and that was back when they would like shove it all the way up there. Definitely don’t want to do that again. So i mean fight island would have been incredible, but definitely don’t want to do five or six tests um. I can’t have a canadian on without asking george st pierre, getting inducted in the ufc hall of fame. I thought it was long overdue. I didn’t even i assumed he was already in there um have you ever had the chance to to meet george or train with george and and what’s your opinion on on george’s goat status, uh yeah, so i’ve been to a tristar uh. I think three times and uh yeah. I got to train with him every time i was there. You know do some wrestling, some sparring and stuff, and you know he’s um he’s the same person uh in real life as he is on tv he’s super friendly um. You know we always as soon as he shows up. He comes over and says hi and shakes my hand and stuff so uh yeah super nice guy, um and uh yeah. I mean i, i think, he’s he’s the best of all time really um. You know he has, he has two losses, but he avenged them both um. You know, i think um with uh somebody like jon jones, we’ve got the whole um, you know the steroids and stuff that that were proven and then some other stuff. A lot of stuff he’s got going on, but really i think it’s a steroids. That kind of you know put an asterisk on his career there um, because we don’t know how long he was doing them. We just know that he was caught. So it’s really hard to um. You know: um really be super legitimate about about all his wins if he was on steroids, um, but yeah, and then the other one’s anderson silva who’s also been been uh caught with tina’s supplements and stuff and obviously he’s got um. You know, maybe he fought a little beyond his prime and he’s got a lot of losses now, whereas i think george kind of retired at the scene at the right time. I think if he did come back now. I still think he’d be a super competitive um. In the 170 pound division or if he could make the 155 pound division, i know he did a practice, cut there a few years back and stuff and sounded like he was going to come out to fight khabib at 1 55 if they could make it happen. But then you know, i guess it kind of fell through, but you know george is always in shape and uh. You know, maybe he’s he’d still be um interested. As for canadian mma as a whole, i mean really carlos newton george, st pierre rory mcdonald and recently um forget her name. The girl that fought amanda, felicia spencer. There haven’t really been a whole lot of canadians who have fought for a belt. Tj grant was supposed to as well halifax boy, so i had to had to slide tj in there as well um. It must be nice. Seeing new canadian faces come in, i mean anthony romero, getting into the contender series and uh. I think kb bular as well. Just got in yesterday just announced: what do you think it will really take before you see like an influx of canadian talent? Like you see with brazil, russia and the united states um yeah, so i think that the problem with um canadian mmas is still pretty small. I mean especially here in ontario um. You know we don’t really have a lot of shows, there’s kind of one show that goes every now and then um. So there isn’t a whole lot of opportunity, um for guys to get experience um and as far as amateur mma. I think it’s still illegal here. It’S super super weird, so it’s really tricky to do here. So it’s kind of just with the regulation and stuff. It’S kind of smothered um smothered canadian mma, at least here in ontario, so um, it’s hard to you know it’s hard to get guys interested in it and then obviously there’s no there’s no money in it. So uh anybody, that’s athletic or, or you know, skilled in sports and stuff. You know they’re going to go with hockey or they’re going to pick something else. You know with the possibility of making a little more money, as opposed to you know. Mma, where you know, your only hope is to kind of make it to the ufc. If you want to make any money at all, but the whole time you know you’re going to have to you, know, fight in local shows around ontario or canada super hard to get fights. Once you get a couple wins and it’s hard to get opponents and um, and then you don’t make any money anyway. So it’s just a difficult, difficult sport to uh to pursue here in canada, whereas i think maybe in um in brazil. Maybe it’s it’s a little bit different. Obviously they’re they’re a little deeper rooted in martial arts. They have a lot more um. You know jiu jitsu tournament and there’s a lot more going on with it and they’ve had vale tudo way back when so i think it’s just um the competition there’s a lot more of it. So it’s able to build a lot better fighters and stuff like that and then with uh. You know like russian stuff, they’ve got [, __, ] and they’ve got um. You know, i think they have a lot more. People in, like russian parliament. Obviously, like vladimir putin is a big mma fan, so it’s just different here in here in canada. It’S there’s just not the same kind of support system, um and like wrestling in high school. I mean i up in huntsville. We didn’t have wrestling um, you know. So it’s very very difficult to to get into the sport last question: for you, i’m a big lease fan uh. I love that the the nhl is going ahead and putting some uh hockey games on. I’M sure you, you love it too. What team do you support? Uh, i guess i go with the toronto maple leafs uh yeah. I don’t want a whole lot, but obviously being uh. You know from ontario um. I have to support the the maple leafs and you know i feel like they’re kind of kind of canada’s team. You know they’re, you know they’re the big, the big one i mean they haven’t won, won the stanley cup a little bit, but you never know. Maybe they’ll come back still yeah, i’m still passionate. I i mean i’m. I was born in 95, so i think they. It was 30 years before i was born the last time. They won a cup, but i’m still here, i’m still rooting for them and hopefully, before i pass, they might win one uh. This might be the year. No all right man. Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to to talk to me all the best. Hopefully you get a fight, a fight announcement here soon and i’m looking forward to it. Yeah thanks a lot for having me on all right man. Uh stay safe, keep washing your hands um! Don’T want to catch anything because man everything’s spreading like crazy right now, yeah all right man, all the best, all right, we’ll talk to you later.

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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