South African-born Lorawnt-T “Smash” Nelson has been quite the fight sports renaissance man as of late. When we last checked in with him, Nelson was getting ready for his second professional kickboxing match, which he went on to win via decision. The former Bellator MMA competitor also recently competed in a professional boxing match, where he earned a stoppage win in the second round.

Admittedly, there were certain points during the fight where Nelson had to mentally remind himself about which rules applied.

Nelson (R) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

Nelson (R) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

“I had a lot of fun,” Nelson told The MMA Corner. “A lot of times, I had to think not to kick or knee, but other than that, I had a lot of fun. It was a great fight. I was just really relaxed and ready to go toe to toe.

“I love it all. I just love the fight game.”

However, as much as the Colorado native might enjoy all facets of martial arts, it seems that he’ll be focusing primarily on kickboxing, at least in the immediate future. Fresh off his kickboxing win over Johnny “Tusnami” Wyderko at Prize Fighting Championship in February, Nelson’s manager, Luke Caudillo, found his fighter a spot on the upcoming GLORY World Series undercard this Saturday in Denver.

GLORY, the biggest promotion in kickboxing right now, has been surging in popularity since partnering with Spike TV. Competitors like Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Tyrone Spong are just a couple of the big names also associated with mixed martial arts to have fought in the promotion. UFC veteran Pat Barry is expected to make his GLORY debut on the Denver card where Nelson is competing.

It is a huge opportunity for an up-and-coming fighter like Nelson. Naturally, he’s looking to make a good first impression.

“I’m so excited. It’s a blessing,” said Nelson. “I’m really happy that they’re giving me this opportunity. I’m on the local undercard, but you have to start somewhere, and I’m just ready to show them the talents that I have and make a home for myself in GLORY.”

Nelson is scheduled to face Brian Camozzi, brother of UFC middleweight Chris Camozzi, at 165 pounds for three, three-minute rounds. Although Nelson has typically fought at lightweight, he doesn’t mind fighting a little heavier, where he can generate more power and not have to cut weight.

In his previous kickboxing outing, Nelson admitted that there was some frustration with his performance. He attributes those struggles to the weight cut.

Nelson (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

Nelson (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

“I don’t know if it was not having enough food or what. I just felt a little bit weak,” shared Nelson. “My knees and clinch felt great—that’s why I stuck with that—but my punch combos were not landing how I wanted to.”

Even though Nelson wasn’t satisfied with his performance immediately after the fight, in retrospect he can see how it was advantageous to try out new techniques and prove that he can last five rounds, if need be. Nelson, with help from Grudge Training Center coach Bryan Youngs, has been continuing to improve the stand-up part of his game with hopes of extending his one-fight contract with GLORY to a long-term deal.

“[My manager] says that when he talked to them before, that if they like what they see, they’re thinking about a contract—maybe a five-fight contract,” said Nelson. “Hopefully they’ll enjoy what they see and see that I have lots of talent. I’m ready to throw down and put on a show for the fans.”

Nelson and his longtime coach, Youngs, also understand that switching up the routine is a necessary part of a fighter’s growth. The two have plans to perhaps travel to Thailand for an extended period of time. More realistically, they want to get some workouts in with other gyms in the United States.

“It’s always good to have a new look and have different training partners,” said Nelson. “You sort of get used to the same people. I’m always ready to go somewhere for a couple weeks and try something out, but Grudge is also an awesome place.”

With word of 2013 “Trainer of the Year” Duane Ludwig leaving Team Alpha Male to start his own gym in Colorado, many fighters across the whole nation are looking to make the trek to John Denver’s favorite state. Although there is no set location yet, the idea seriously interests Nelson.

“Duane Ludwig is an awesome coach and awesome striker,” he said. “I would love to work with him at some point as well.”

For more on GLORY 16 Denver, and live coverage of the event, keep an eye on The MMA Corner.

LT would like to thank his manager, Luke Caudillo, and his coach, Bryan Youngs. He would also like to thank everyone at Grudge Training Center, The Roof Works, Yield Plus and Designs of Green. You can find out more about Nelson on his Facebook page. Follow Nelson on Twitter: @ltnelsonmma

About The Author

Zach Miller
Staff Writer

Zach is a Boston native and has had a fascination with martial arts since playing Mortal Kombat at five years old. He was introduced to MMA after watching The Ultimate Fighter 5: Team Pulver vs. Team Penn. A recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Zach seeks to one day become a full-time MMA journalist. In addition to watching the sport, he has also trained in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, and tae kwon do. Zach has also written for NortheastMMA.