After taking his promotional debut on just four day’s notice, Kyle ‘The Monster’ Nelson has had a full camp for UFC Ottawa, and is looking to show what he can do.
Kyle Nelson joined the UFC on just four days notice ahead of UFC 231. For the Canadian from Huntsville, Ontario, it was a hectic experience to say the least — but one that was, perhaps, meant to be. Nelson had been profiled ahead of the fight by the Toronto Sun, even before he was part of the card. His eventual opponent, Carlos Diego Ferreira, was scheduled to fight John Makdessi.
Then Makdessi pulled out. “I had fought in Romania just a few weeks before,” he told Cageside Press recently. “So I was keeping myself in shape.” That sort of thinking has earned many a fighter a shot in the UFC, but Nelson’s origin story, so to speak, came down to the wire. Jesse Ronson, not Nelson, was given the nod as Makdessi’s opponent.
“When I saw Jesse Ronson replace Makdessi, I thought, there goes my shot at getting on the card,” Nelson recalled. During Fight Week, however, Ronson was deemed too heavy to safely cut to 155lbs. Nelson, who normally competes at featherweight, stepped in.
He came out strong that night in Toronto. “I knew I could hang with him on the feet,” he said, adding he feels like he can hang with anyone there. For the better part of the first round, Nelson was ahead. However, at the end of the first, Ferreira turned the tables, and ended the round on Nelson’s back, landing.
Between rounds, his thought was simply to find “a second wind,” Nelson said. It didn’t come. “It was the adrenaline dump more than anything,” he said of the experience. Having spoken to professionals since, he realizes that the second wind simply wouldn’t have come that soon. “It would have taken longer than that” to get going again after such a crazy adrenaline dump.
Nelson also realizes that he probably peaked in the days ahead of the fight, in the whirlwind of obligations. “I had to get medicals done, sign the contract,” not to mention get outfitted, and get to Toronto. And admittedly, “I was in shape, but I wasn’t in fight shape,” given the lack of a proper camp. He’d watched some video of Ferreira, and knew he was facing a tough opponent. There wasn’t time for much else.
In terms of a learning experience, “there isn’t too much I can say I wouldn’t do again, because I didn’t get a full camp,” Nelson said. Other than to be in shape and ready to go at all times.
In comparison, preparation for his fight against Matt Sayles at UFC Ottawa has gone much smoother. “I’ve been down to the UFC Performance Institute,” he noted. A perk of now being a UFC Fighter. Other changes have come as well, such as training with Xtreme Couture, he noted.
Pad work with Kru Alin at the @UFCPI #UFC #TheMonster #ufcottawa🇨🇦 #vegas #lasvegas pic.twitter.com/AORdMgeycR
— Kyle Nelson (@THE__MONSTER) April 16, 2019
He’s watched video of Sayles, of course, but “I prefer to focus on me first,” he said of preparation, which, aside from his time in Las Vegas, has come in Stoney Creek, Ontario. Nelson makes the lengthy drive from his home in Huntsville, ON, in the province’s Muskoka region.
“I have thought about relocating,” Nelson said of the current arrangement. However, with a child in school, a family, it’s just not viable at the moment. “Hopefully once I get sponsors,” he suggested, noting that as his UFC career develops, it could be a possibility. For now, he’ll continue to make it work.
And work it has. “I’ve never lost at featherweight,” he pointed out, and he’s back in the weight class against Sayles. He recognizes his opponent is dangerous, but Nelson does feel that he’s better than Sayles “in all areas.”
He’s not about to go making predictions, however, mainly because historically, he’s not great at them. “I do predictions on my Facebook page, and I usually get them wrong,” he admitted. “So I don’t like doing predictions for my fights or my training partner’s fights.” That said, you know Kyle Nelson will be gunning for a win at UFC Ottawa.
He’ll have plenty of crowd support behind him. Ottawa is just down the road from Huntsville, really. Nelson will have friends and family “from Huntsville, Bracebridge” – the whole region, plus “a bunch of my friends and training partners [from Stoney Creek] are coming up too.”
Happy birthday, 🇨🇦 @The__Monster! #UFCOttawa pic.twitter.com/RaRRWQig0R
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) April 21, 2019
Though Canadian — hockey is more or less a religion here — Nelson told Cageside Press that he hadn’t had time to follow much of the NHL playoffs (the Leafs were eliminated shortly before we spoke). “I haven’t really had time to watch because of training camp.” He also just had a birthday pass. But the party hasn’t come just yet. Instead, “the celebration is on the 4th,” Nelson told us. A win in Ottawa will make it that much sweeter.
Follow Kyle Nelson on Twitter via @The__Monster, Instagram, and Facebook.