London, U.K. – Another fight, another change in opponents for UFC welterweight Gunnar Nelson, but it’s nothing new as he gets set to face Bryan Barberena at UFC 286 on Saturday night.
“I’m well used to opponents being changed and I think more often than not it’s happened. I don’t really get too engaged with my first opponent if that makes sense,” Nelson told reporters including Cageside Press on Wednesday.
Nelson (18-5-1) was originally set to fight Daniel Rodriguez at UFC 286, but the latter withdrew due to injury. In steps in the always game Bryan Barberena who is coming off a loss to Rafael Dos Anjos in December.
“Bam Bam is a stud. He’s a veteran and I’m really happy that he stepped up,” he said.
Nelson is so used to opponent changes that, while he did somewhat study Rodriguez, he felt like he’d have to be ready for a change come fight night.
“I always (expect something to happen with my opponent) do to be honest. I looked at his fights, and I studied him, but I don’t really focus too much on my opponents. Because I know it’s going to change or it usually does,” Nelson said.
Nelson isn’t ever really sure he’s going to fight the opponent so he just counts on showing up and hoping someone is standing in front of him ready to fight.
“I just settle in and think I’m actually going to fight. So I’ll be there and whoever’s going to be there on the other side of the cage than that’s fine,” he said.
“As long as there’s someone.”
Barberena may, at the end of the day, be a more exciting matchup for Nelson who enjoys putting on a good fight.
“He’s exciting. I like his fights you know he goes in there and he’s not going to try to win on points. He’s going to try to finish the fight. It’s exciting to watch him fight, and I’m excited to share the octagon with him,” said Nelson.
Watch the entire media day scrum with Gunnar Nelson above. He takes on Bryan Barberena at UFC 286 on Saturday night at The O2 Arena in London.