LAS VEGAS – Kyle Nelson’s preparation to return to the featherweight division has gone better than expected, and he plans to cap off his fight week with an early finish of his always-exciting opponent.
At UFC Fight Night 218, Nelson (13-5 MMA, 1-4 UFC) meets Dooho Choi at 145 pounds. Nelson has spent most of his professional fighting career at featherweight, but his last appearance in the UFC’s octagon took place at lightweight.
Dropping back down wasn’t a part of Nelson’s original plan, but the UFC called him with the matchup against Choi (14-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) with plenty of notice, which Nelson says made the adjustment an easy undertaking.
“I was a little bit hesitant about 145 having just come off a fight at lightweight,” Nelson told reporters at Wednesday’s media day. “I felt great at lightweight, so I was like, ‘Oh, go cut back down to 145?’ But we had so much notice that this weight cut was actually easier than the weight cut down to 145. So, I’ve had a ton of energy and I’m very excited for this fight.”
Choi has not fought in over three years. His last appearance was in December 2019 against Charles Jourdain. “The Korean Superboy” has also lost three straight, but each of those bouts won the Fight of the Night bonus, which speaks to the intense battle that Choi brings to every opponent. Nelson is well aware of this, and expects nothing different from his opponent when they step into the cage at UFC Apex.
“There’s going to be some serious fisticuffs being thrown in there,” Nelson said. “He’s going to come forward, I know he likes to box. He’ll throw some kicks and stuff, but he’s more of a boxer, and I like to swing.
“So, I think we’re going to meet in the middle and I think I’m a little bit bigger, a little bit more techinical, and I think I’m going to hit him pretty hard, and we might see him go away real early.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 218.