In a meeting of two worlds, this week we saw two Icelandic sporting heroes battle it out in the gym and finally answer that age-old question “does technique overcome strength?”
When The World’s Strongest Man Hafthor Bjornsson AKA Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane from Game of Thrones, called out Gunnar Nelson to grapple at the famous Mjölnir gym in Reykjavík, you knew the UFC veteran could never decline such an enticing offer.
However, when Gunnar posted on his Instagram revealing what had gone down in the last few days, he revealed that there was trepidation when answering the call.
When @thorbjornsson reached out to me and asked if I was willing to grapple with him just for fun, I thought to myself that this was maybe not the smartest idea for either of us. Still I was curious as a martial artist to see how my skills work against someone as big and heavy, not to forget that this is one of the strongest men who ever walked this earth. I have been grappling a lot for over 15 years with all kinds of people, body types, skill levels and so on, but this was a brand new experience for me
Technique Over Strength
There have been a few instances where the world of strongmen and grapplers have collided, most recently was when Eddie Hall rolled with BJJ Black Belt and Polaris commentator Josh Palmer.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a sport has always prided itself on “the little guy” out beating the big guy. Technique over strength is always a huge aspect of the sport, even though people who are deep in the sport know that’s not often the case.
However, willing to put his title and reputation on the line the 6ft 9 inch, 400lbs Icelandic strongman wanted to put this theory to the test.
I’ve been wanting for a long time, (to grapple against Gunnar Nelson)because a lot of my friends have been saying, I have no chance against you on the floor,” Bjornsson said.
I’m just interested. To see if the technique and the experience are going to overcome the strength. Not only the strength but also body weight.
Talking in the video Gunnar wasn’t so much impressed by his size and strength but commented on his conditioning, likely a factor due to Bjornsson’s current boxing regime, while he prepares for a fight against UK strongman Eddie Hall.
“When he asked me if his strength was surprising, I was like no but his conditioning was,” said Nelson.
“He was able to keep going and not just conditioning but he was smart with his fights. He used his weight well. He’s not just heavy and strong but he’s athletic with his weight.”