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Top UFC welterweight Gunnar Nelson could 'easily' drop to lightweight (but won't)

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Top Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight contender Gunnar Nelson suffered the first defeat of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career when he came up short against Rick Story at the UFC Fight Night 53 event last October in Stockholm, Sweden.

Following the loss, there was dialog from armchair experts about how well "Gunni" will continue to perform against the top half of the 170-pound contender list (see it here), considering the ease in which the grappling ace can hit the welterweight limit.

Nelson can -- but won't -- make the drop to lightweight, according to his conversation with The Telegraph:

"I could easily make lightweight. Compared to my team mates and what they have to go through to make weight, it would be easy for me. But I enjoy eating and I'd rather do that than starve myself. In this (Story) fight I felt like I could've been moving more freely in general. I was a bit restrained and that was down to me. I was stopping myself from moving certain ways. I think I could have engaged in to this a little bit earlier and a few fights ago. You don't always feel great in your fights but you get through it. This time I lost. Maybe it was what I needed to wake me up. I think regardless of whether I got the decision or not, the way the fight went and the way I felt in this fight was not the ideal fight for someone like me. You want to mix it up better, you don't just want to go to war. You want to finish the fight. But sometimes it is like this - this is the sport. I'll be back."

It's hard to push the panic button after just one loss, particularly a split decision.

That said, the Icelander cannot afford any sort of inconsistency at his current home, based on the 170-pound bottleneck at the top of the division. Following what is likely to be a trilogy between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler, Rory MacDonald is nipping at their heels.

A couple of wins for "Gunni" and he's right there in the mix. A couple of losses, and he may rethink that eating plan.

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