Fight News Australia recently had the pleasure of interviewing one of the most dominant and talented unsigned fighters in the country; Corey ‘Major’ Nelson. Only a week away from defending his AFC title, we cover a range of topics including his upcoming title defense at AFC 14, UFC 193 in Melbourne and his goal of one day hitting the big time in the UFC.
Fight News Australia: Hey Corey, thanks for taking the time for an interview with FNA. How were you first introduced to MMA?
Corey Nelson: I was first introduced to MMA by seeing the crazy back and forward fight between Forrest Griffin and Stephen Bonnar in the Ultimate Fighter series and I was like, I want to do that!
Fight News Australia: What were your first thoughts on the sport and was it something you knew you wanted to do straight away?
Corey Nelson: First thoughts were this is mad and that’s what I want to do.
Fight News Australia: Did you grow up playing any other sports?
Corey Nelson: I grew up playing rugby league for 14 years and wanted to play in the NRL.
Fight News Australia: You have trialed for The Ultimate Fighter a few times, and you came close to gaining a position on the show. How did you find the experience at the trials?
Corey Nelson: The first time I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but the second time it was funny, because I had that experience from trying out the first time so I was very relaxed, joking around and smiling, and when I looked around everybody was so serious, so I told everyone to loosen up and relax, it’s not that bad.
Fight News Australia: You recently turned down an opportunity with One Championship after being awarded a contract following your win in the 2014 Brace welterweight championship tournament. What were the main influences behind that decision?
Corey Nelson: Well the way I looked at it was, what was my main goal when I started MMA? It was to fight in the UFC so when I got a contract that wasn’t a UFC contract it didn’t feel right so I couldn’t take it, but it was nice to get it.
Fight News Australia: A rematch against Anton Zafir, who defeated you last year, has never eventuated. Is this a match-up that still interests you?
Corey Nelson: No it hasn’t happened, and I’m quite annoyed that it hasn’t. It’s alleged NITRO doesn’t like NSW fighters to have the belt lol, but yeah I’m very interested in righting my wrongs so we might have to do it on (AFC) Australian Fighting Championships or Super Fight, a new promotion in Sydney run by my old CFC crew.
Fight News Australia: You’re scheduled to take on Manuel Rodriguez at Australian Fighting Championships 14 on Saturday night. How are current preparations going for your next bout?
Corey Nelson: It’s going great. I’m working my butt off in training and really drilling and learning and feeling confident for this fight. I can’t wait.
Fight News Australia: You competed against Rodriguez back in 2009, which was very early on in both your careers. He won that fight by a first round submission. What will you need to do to even up the ledger?
Corey Nelson: I’m not looking to even the ledger I’m looking to put a stamp on the victory with a big KO.
Fight News Australia: Both of you are coming off first round TKO victories over the previously undefeated SPMA product Steve Micallef, which adds an interesting angle to the matchup. Have you watched Rodriguez’s last fight and what’s your opinion of his recent form?
Corey Nelson: I watched his fight against Steve Kennedy, and at times he looked very good but I have seen a lot of holes I can capitalize on and that’s been my whole training camp, working on doing just that.
Fight News Australia: While the card is filling up there could still be room for further match-ups to be announced for the Melbourne event, and it’s not uncommon to see the UFC call on local fighters to fill last minute replacement spots due to injuries. Have you or your management been in contact with the UFC about fighting on the card?
Corey Nelson: No I haven’t yet but hopefully they’ll email me or something lol.
Fight News Australia: With UFC 193 taking place at Etihad Stadium in front of a potential 70,000 spectators, what implications do you think such a large scale event will have on Australian MMA, and the already growing local MMA scene?
Corey Nelson: I think Melbourne is going to explode like Sydney did when the UFC first came here. It felt like in every corner there was a new MMA gym popping up.
Fight News Australia: Over your MMA career you have amassed over 25 fights and earned numerous Australian titles, leaving you as one of the most experienced active fighters in the country. On your current path many would assume UFC is inevitable and maybe just around the corner. If you had the chance to make a pitch to UFC selectors, what would you say to them, and why are you the most deserving Aussie to warrant a UFC call up?
Corey Nelson: I’m the number one welterweight with 6 Australian titles. That said, I am and I deserve a crack in the UFC. There is not one other fighter that can say they have won that many titles. Yeah I’ve had some losses when I shouldn’t have but that was my bad luck for taking fights after I just fought a week or 2 weeks before hand so no one can say I’m not a fighter.
Fight News Australia: Your short term goal is to get into the UFC. Theoretically speaking, say you do get the call up, what will your next goal be?
Corey Nelson: That’s easy, just win every fight I get matched up with.
Corey would like to take the opportunity to thank: Armour Mouthguards, Supplement Wars (a great app that is popping up soon) and to all my training partners and trainers, thank you!
You can find Corey at: