Hafthor Bjornsson is perhaps most well-known for his tenure as ‘The Mountain’ from Game of Thrones but the former World’s Strongest Man has recently spent some time grappling with UFC veteran Gunnar Nelson. This isn’t the first time that Bjornsson has shown an interest in Jiu-Jitsu as it was only a matter of months ago that footage surfaced of him having a friendly grappling match with Joshua Palmer, Cage Warriors commentator and BJJ black belt. Of course, Gunnar Nelson is not your average Jiu-Jitsu black belt, he’s not even your average professional MMA fighter with a Jiu-Jitsu black belt either.
Nelson was a gold medalist at both brown and black belt in the Middleweight division of the IBJJF Pan-Ams, winning in the gi at brown belt and in the no gi edition at black belt. This was all after only a couple of years training Jiu-Jitsu under John Kavanagh at SBG Ireland up until brown belt, before Nelson moved to New York to train under Renzo Gracie who awarded the Icelandic national with his black belt after less than a year in the States.
It was then that Nelson made an appearance at ADCC 2009 and came up just short in the absolute division where he placed fourth, although he managed to overcome much bigger and more experienced opponents in Jeff Monson and David Avellan on the way there. He made another attempt at glory at ADCC 2011 although he again fell just short of the podium. Since then he’s focused exclusively on his MMA career and has put together an 8-5 UFC record, although he has not competed since a loss to Gilbert Burns back in September 2019.
The video footage of the friendly grappling match with Gunnar Nelson was uploaded by Hafthor Bjornsson on his official YouTube channel: