Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a sport often plagued with injuries. In a world where the top athletes sharpen and hone their craft with punches, kicks, knees, elbows, slams and submission holds, it is simply the nature of the beast.
However, it is one of the fastest growing sport, and one of the most popular. It is a phenomenon that has grown exponentially every year, and continues to establish itself among the sports that have been around for far longer.
This is the case of Theo Nelson. Born 25th June 1995, Nelson's success story is a result of his determination and struggle to prove that Africans are equally capable and strong as ever.
The 20-year-old is really making a name in Mixed Martial Arts as a young Ghanaian fighter who is currently undefeated with three wins under his belt. (no draws, no losses).
Now fighting at 66kg in the featherweight division after getting promotion from the lightweight division, Nelson's first decided to make a living as a fighter after failing to make "it big in football."
"Before i started training in MMA, I use to play football but i was going no where with it, so at the age of 16, i decided to quit and try something new," Nelson told exclusively Allsports.com.gh.
"I've always been inspired by Bruce Lee, Muhammed Ali and Azumah Nelson so i thought I'll try out martial arts and combative sports."
"That is when i came across Mixed Martial Arts. In sports like Mixed Martial Arts, you are not limited to using one aspect of your body to fight such as in other combative sports like boxing or taekwando."
"MMA is a very pure form of combat as all aspects of fighting are considered, which is a concept i found intriguing," he remarked.
Though still young, Neslon has excelled in all his fights in England, underlying his claim to greatness. The undefeated fighter's first match was against Trimane Bailey in Nottingham on 9th December 2012 at the age of 17, and he took his energy from the hoards of supporters who were shouting his name.
"I felt great, i had tears of joy," Nelson told Allsports.com.gh about the feelings after his first fight.
"I trained hard for months in preparation for the fight and it happened just how i dreamed it would happen. At the time i felt like i was on top of the world."
"It was of the most fulfilling moments I've experienced."
He won that fight by technical knock out in the first minute. After a victory against Bailey, Nelson had to wait for two years before triumphing over Lars Atkinson - his second fight - on 30th November 2014. On 7th March 2015, a day after Ghana celebrated her 58th independence day, Nelson outclassed Germain Gil in a fierce encounter.
"I have fought in only England. I have fought in Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham. There is an amateur world championship which give amateur fighters an opportunity to travel around the world which I would love to compete in before turning professional," Neslon revealed to Allsports.com.gh.
He added that his wish is to compete for his country, Ghana, one day. "If an MMA federation can be established in Ghana, it would be honour to compete for the country."
How he managed to balance both work and studies is yet another striking fact about Nelson. He is currently a college student with a specialization in law at the Liverpool John Moores University, quite impressive like his built at 5'10 with that well toned muscles.
Talking like a real man of substance, he says his parent's support has helped his fighting career.
"I study Law at the university alongside fighting. Both my parents are supportive of me competing although they would prefer me to focus more on completing my Law degree," Nelson told Allsports.com.gh.
"My mother is my biggest fan. She gets really scared before i fight, as most mothers do when their son is competing in such a sport."
"She always begs me to stop but after my fight she's the happiest woman on earth and doesn't stop telling people how proud she is of me."
The undefeated Nelson has had three straight wins and no losses and could soon get the call up to his next fight later in November this year.