Prospect Graham Spencer Quit Job, Trained With Team Alpha Male to Prepare for “Big Time Opponent” in UFC Vet Shane Nelson
By Kelsey Mowatt
If you had asked Graham Spencer a few years ago if he could envision a time where his days were spent training for a fight, rather than working as an electrician, he likely would have said no. Thanks to the 8-1 record Spencer’s put together, and an upcoming bout with UFC veteran Shane Nelson, however, he’s undergone an unexpected career change.
“I quit my job for this fight,” said Spencer, who will make his debut for the Maximum Fighting Championships on October 26th. “I still have my electrical certificate though, so it’s not like it wouldn’t be easy for me to go back. I’m getting older, so I kind of want to make a run at it now, and this seems like the perfect situation: big time opponent.”
The Spencer, Nelson fight, which will take place at Edmonton’s Mayfield Trade Centre, will mark the introduction of the MFC featherweight division.
“It was kind of in the back of my head,” said the 28 year-old fighter, while discussing his decision to make fighting his full time vocation. “I knew it was something I really wanted to happen, but I’ve taken my working career pretty seriously as well. Even before I came down to Sacramento I was working too much to get proper training, and it was kind of nagging on me, whether or not I would ever find out if I had what it takes.”
Since Spencer began competing professionally in 2008, the fighter has steadily worked his way up the Canadian ranks, thanks in large part to the skills he honed at Nanaimo’s Impact MMA facility. More recently, however, Spencer elected to head south to the aforementioned Sacramento, to continue his development through the guidance of Team Alpha Male.
“It was definitely because of the weight classes they have here and I had been down here before,” Spencer said, when asked why he choose the California team, which includes noted fighters like Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez and Chad Mendes among others. “It’s been great.”
“The first time I ever came down Urijah was getting ready for a fight, Chad was, Joseph was, and it was like the second day I was here; it was the hard sparring day,” Spencer recalled. “It was just me and those guys. We each took turn turns in the middle and five rounds with the guys rotating in on you; I had never been beat up so bad in my life. It was an eye opener, especially with the wrestling, because everyone can wrestle down here…this is the place to be if you’re in the lighter weight classes.”
While Spencer has scored wins over vets like Shawn Albrecht, Bruno Capdeville and rising MFC lightweight Mukai Maromo, he has yet to fight a man with the international experience that Nelson has.
“That’s always when I get the most nervous, when I find out who I’m fighting,” said Spencer, when asked for his reaction upon finding out he would fight the BJ Penn student next. “So I was nervous of course, but once you get into training, into the grind and that zone, those nerves are gone now. I’m just really excited to get in there and see how I can hold my own with him.”
Nelson (15-6) went 2-2 in official UFC action, but after losing by unanimous decision to Matt Wiman in December, 2009, he was let go by the promotion. Since then the Hawaiian fighter has gone 3-1.
“He’s pretty well rounded,” Spencer told Full Contact Fighter. “I don’t know how many knockouts he has or anything, but I know he throws a lot of combos, a lot of head kicks; he’s not scared at all. He brings it so I think it’s going to be a great fight. I always move forward in my fights and it looks like he does too.”