When news came this week that Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson’s UFC contract was set to expire after his next fight, it appeared the stakes for his UFC 161 bout against Stipe Miocic were raised higher. And while Nelson put on his worst performance of his last four bouts and lost a one-sided decision, news is that the promotion is willing to sign the popular fighter back again.
Dana White and Nelson have had their much-publicized differences in the past, but those don’t seem to matter too much today, as White expressed his respect for Nelson and his contract situation after last night’s fights:
"I respect Roy. He has a great chin, hits hard, has great jiu-jitsu. You know, he was a man about this contract. His contract was up in July, we asked for an extension and he said no. He doesn't have to say yes. His contract is up, it's up. We gotta get him a fight before his contract's over, he stepped up, he took the fight. Do Roy and I always see eye to eye? We don't. We made an offer to Roy and we'll sit down and talk to him again after this."
Nelson also expressed that he wants to return if the UFC wants him in a post-fight interview, and really both sides willing to come to terms should come as no surprise. Nelson always puts on exciting fights each time out, whether he’s knocking his opponent out or absorbing an absolutely insane amount of punishment. After all, he did set the record for most significant strikes absorbed without being knocked out with a lofty 437.
However, Nelson appears to always make it to a top opponent and lose. But Miocic was not a top-ranked fighter as of last night. The knock on Nelson is always his conditioning, and he blamed the short turnaround in part last night. Regardless, one has to wonder what Roy Nelson’s true opportunities are within the competitive UFC heavyweight division. Where does ‘Big Country’ go from here?