Stipe Miocic: I like the matchup with Roy Nelson


UFC heavyweight Stipe Miocic finds himself with a golden opportunity at this Saturday’s UFC 161. Set to face Roy Nelson in a short notice bout, this will undoubtedly be the biggest test of his young career. The highly touted prospect was previously undefeated before he suffered a TKO at the hands of Stefan Struve.

While it may have derailed his hype train a bit, he can recoup all that was lost and much, much more if he can defeat ‘Big Country’ this weekend. Miocic flies under the radar for the most part; preferring to let his fists his talking. He recently met up with to discuss his pivotal bout with Nelson, and true to form, his comments were short and simple:

“Nelson is a very well rounded fighter.  I like the matchup and wouldn’t have taken it if I didn’t think so.  I was training already, and the only thing that has changed is my game-plan.”

He shows respect for Nelson’s game, one that has recently seen the outspoken fan favorite knock his opponents out very quickly. Nelson does, however, have the experienced Jiu-jitsu game to match. However, Miocic has a very well rounded game of his own.

Miocic’s Croatian heritage lent him the inevitable comparisons to the legendary Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic, but in reality, the two fighters are quite distant in terms of skillset. While Cro Cop knocked opponents cold with brutal head kicks, Miocic was an accomplished wrestler with a Golden Gloves title also to his name. Question marks about his chin must be answered after the Struve loss.

Miocic apparently sees an outlet to win the bout, which would almost guarantee a rankings spot in the top ten. That may not factor with Miocic too much, who, when asked to comment on some of the recent controversies in MMA, replied:

“I’m here to fight.  That’s all.”

That attitude bucks the trend of MMA fighters talking themselves into the spotlight, a trend that has been working as of late. Come Saturday, a fight he has. Can he stay away from Nelson’s incredible power and shock the world with an upset?

  • I've seen this guy's first few amateur fights and he was lights out then as well. I would not be surprised to see him as a NO 1 contender in 2 years.

  • I wouldn't be surprised either. I think he's got a pretty big future ahead of him. Good attitude too. I honestly think he has a good chance if he can stay away from Nelson's overhand right and draws the fight out.

  • What Roy brings to the table is pretty much the same each fight. It's enough to take out guys in the middle of the pack but against high level competition, he looks more like Butterbean.

    Is Stipic high level competition? Not yet, but he might be going in that direction. I think he will have evolved since his last fight.

    Roy Nelson is not usually the favorite, so it's interesting to see how he deals with that role.

    My guess, Stipic fights smart, out boxes Big Country and then when the Belly gets tired, pounds him out in round 3