About Gunnar Nelson
DOB: July 28th 1988
Weight: 77 kg (170 pounds)
Height: 180 cm (5'11")
From: Reykjavik, Iceland
Gunnar Ludvik Nelson (Gunni) is an Icelandic professional MMA and BJJ fighter. He now fighs in the UFC. Gunnar was born in Akureyri in the north side of Iceland but has lived in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, almost all his life from early childhood. He has one sister Maria Dogg Nelson born 1992 in Reykjavik. His mother is Gudrun Hulda Gunnarsdottir Nelson (Hulda) born 1966 in Olafsfjordur and his father is Haraldur Dean Nelson (Halli) born 1965 in Keflavik. Gunnar's grandfather from his father side was from USA, hence the Nelson family name.
Gunnar fights out of the Icelandic MMA club Mjölnir in Reykjavik and that's where he spends most of his training and teaching. He also trains with Renzo Gracie and John Danaher in New York, John Kavanagh and his team in Dublin and in Manchester where his trainer has been Karl Tanswell. John and Karl have also been in his corners for most of his MMA fights and so has his father Halli Nelson and his friend and head coach in Mjölnir, Jon Vidar Arnthorsson.
In his childhood years Gunnar trained both football (soccer) and ice hockey. At the age of 13 (autumn 2001) he started training Goju-Ryu karate and won the Icelandic Juvenile Kumite Championship title in 2003. He never gave that title away in the years he competed in karate, winning it again in 2004 and 2005. Gunnar also took home medals in every karate tournament he participated in over the years 2003-2005. In 2005, he was chosen as Iceland’s most up-and-coming karate talent of the year at only 16 years of age. Shortly after that he stopped Karate to work for a career within MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instead.
MMA and BJJ career
Gunnar started training MMA and BJJ along with his karate training in the year 2005. In 2006 Gunnar decided to drop his karate training and concentrate on his MMA and BJJ training. Gunnar has since then won many medals, both in Grappling and BJJ competitions. He got his BJJ blue belt (April 25, 2006) and purple belt (June 3, 2007) and his brown belt (June 28, 2008) under John Kavanagh. Gunnar is a BJJ black belt under Renzo Gracie since September 30th 2009.
In May 2007 Gunnar fought in MMA for the first time (and his first full contact fight ever) in Copenhagen, Denmark. The fight was against a much more experienced Danish fighter who was considered one of the best MMA fighters in Denmark at the time. The Danish judges ruled the fight a draw. Since then Gunnar has fought 11 MMA pro fights and won them all.
As mentioned before John Kavanagh and Karl Tanswell have prepared Gunnar for most of his MMA fights and cannot been thanked enough for what they've done and keep on doing. Gunnar trains with the best to become one of the best. He has spent time in Hilo, Hawaii training with BJ Penn and of course in New York with the legendary Renzo Gracie, John Danaher and many others.
As from July 2012 Gunnar is signed for the UFC. For more info see his Record Page.
Few pictures of Gunnar through the years
Swimming in the stream Botnsa beneath Glymur, the highest waterfall in Iceland. Pretty cold and with a heavy current. July 2009.
With his sister María and Perla the family dog for almost 13 years. December 2008.
With his father (Haraldur Dean Nelson) and his uncle (Kenneth Dean Nelson II, who serves in the US Marine Corps) at Ken's wedding in June 2008.
With Renzo Gracie in Reykjavik, Iceland. June 2008
With BJ Penn in Hilo Hawaii. May 2008
A giant turtle in Hilo, Hawaii. April 2008
With two world champions, B.J. Penn and Urijah Faber, and others in Hilo, Hawaii. March 2008
In a hauberk. March 2008
By a bonfire in Iceland. August 2007
"Training" with John Kavanagh. Copenhagen, May 2007
Rolling with Eddie "The Twister" Bravo the day before UFC 70. Matt Serra then current welterweight champion in the door. Manchester, April 2007
In his new BJJ Koral gi. November 2006.
Making fun of a well know suit commercial. Maybe looking for a role ...
... then again, maybe not. March 2006
With his sister María Dögg Nelson (born 1992). Christmas 2005
The Gunnars... joking around with his grandfather Gunnar. July 2005
Golfing in Iceland. May 2005
Working with his great-grandfather who's now past away. August 2003
At the Carrara marble in Italy. June 2000
One year old and already enjoying his ground game, both summer ...
... and winter. 1989
A less then one year old Icelandic viking in natural water. Summer 1989