Everybody loves to indulge in a drink with friends now and again, and there really is nothing like the camaraderie that comes from having a few beers with close friends. In the case of Corey “Major” Nelson, a few beers and a lucky wager paved the way of his outlook in his MMA career.

“Before I first started fighting, me and some mates went to the local club and we were having a few beers and a bit of a bet,” Nelson admitted in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “A horse came up named ‘Major Nelson’ and it was an underdog. It was paying 26 dollars for a win. We put some money on it and it got up, and then my mates were saying that ‘Major’ would be my fight name, all because of that.”

That passion of getting behind an underdog pretty much sums up the everyday Australian. We all love a good tale of overcoming the odds and coming out on top when everybody is in doubt. After 12 wins from 17 career fights, Nelson can hardly be considered an underdog anymore. He is now seen as one of the top welterweights on the Australian circuit.

Nelson (R) delivers a kick (Chris dela Cruz/Sherdog)

Leading into his welterweight championship tournament fight at the Australian Fighting Championship 5 show, Nelson is carrying a three-fight winning streak and squares off against a relative newcomer in Alex Volkanovski. It would be easy for Nelson to discount Volkanovski’s five fights against his own seventeen appearances, but Nelson knows all too well how things can play out when it comes time to fight.

“He’s got so much to gain and that’s why it’s a dangerous fight,” he explained. “I am not going to be anybody’s stepping stone, so I am going to make sure that I walk out of there with a win. I am really looking forward to the fight and I have just been training harder and harder.

“When I first started [in MMA], I was a bit of an underdog, but as you get more experienced and get better as a fighter you kind of lose that tag, but you never forget the feeling. It disappoints me a bit [no longer being an underdog]. I always like to get behind an underdog, but now I have to look at it as if anything can happen. While I might go into some fights the favorite, anybody in the sport has a puncher’s chance and an underdog can be unpredictable.”

Nelson (Chris dela Cruz/Sherdog)

Having trained in the same gym since his early days in the sport, Nelson has seen a lot of fighters come and go. KMA Top Team in Sydney has now started to produce some of the best fighters on the Australian circuit, and Nelson attributes that to work ethic and the desire to be the best fighters that they can be.

“There is so much pride there,” he explained. “I am one of the original fighters at KMA. When I started, there weren’t really any guys fighting on the circuit. And now we have come leaps and bounds and we are just getting stronger and stronger.”

Of Nelson’s four career losses, two were at the hands of current UFC-rostered fighters, Benny Alloway and Robert Whittaker. A third was at the hands of TUF Smashes alum Manuel Rodriguez. Seeking out the best competition that he could find helped Nelson develop as a fighter. After suffering three defeats in a row, Nelson bounced back in a big way and has not looked back since. With each win, he gets one step closer to his ultimate goal: making MMA a full-time job.

“I want to show that I am in this for the long run,” he exclaimed. “I want to really put UFC and MMA on the map in Australia and help the sport develop over here just like Rob [Whittaker] and all the other boys have done. I am ready for the hard work and ready to do whatever it takes.”

Whilst the underdog ship may have sailed long ago, the memories of the desperation to succeed still remain with Corey Nelson. With AFC 5 comes another opportunity for Nelson to begin a quest to win yet another Australian championship. With more decisive wins on the Australian circuit, he could soon find himself being the underdog all over again when he eventually breaks through to the sport’s biggest stage.

Corey would like to thank Century MMA, Fighters Against Child Abuse Australia (F.A.C.A.A) and KMA. Follow him on Twitter: @coreynelson9

Top Photo: Corey Nelson (Chris dela Cruz/Sherdog)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.