Kenny Florian on Gunnar Nelson: "He Hangs with GSP's Wrestling in Training"

Jordy McElroyCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2013

Gunnar Nelson Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Gunnar Nelson Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The UFC welterweight division has found its next superstar, and his name isn't Rory MacDonald.

Undefeated Iceland native Gunnar Nelson dazzled in his UFC debut in September 2012 against DaMarques Johnson.

His Karate-based style and pinpoint accuracy had every MMA fan asking the same question. Did the welterweight division get its own version of Lyoto Machida?

While Nelson remains somewhat of a mystery to fans, former UFC title contender Kenny Florian had the pleasure of witnessing the 24-year-old prospect spar against some of the best fighters in the world, namely UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre.

On FUEL TV's "UFC Tonight," Florian praised Nelson for being one of the only fighters to ever hang with St-Pierre's world class grappling.

"Gunnar Nelson is a guy that I've seen in training. I don't see anybody who can really wrestle with Georges St-Pierre in training. Gunnar Nelson is one of those guys, and he's a Jiu-Jitsu guy. Absolutely, this guy is the real deal, world class Jiu-Jitsu background."

Despite a nonexistent wrestling background, St-Pierre is arguably the best wrestler in MMA history. These are high compliments coming from Florian, who has trained alongside St-Pierre for quite some time.

Johnson is no easy task for a UFC rookie, and Nelson breezed right through him. It was the type of performance that piqued even the casual viewer's interest in the possible ceiling for this young star.

Nelson is set to face former Sengoku middleweight champ Jorge Santiago on Saturday night at UFC on FUEL 7. An impressive win over Santiago would go a long way in riling up the masses in support of Nelson's emergence as a future threat to the title picture.

With youth and untapped talent on his side, "Gunni" just may be the most intriguing contender in the welterweight division.