The disconnect between UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson and its president Dana White goes back to the very first episode of Season 10 of "The Ultimate Fighter."
When White sad he had something big planned for that season, the former IFL champion Nelson figured it meant him. Six minutes and twenty seconds into that season of "TUF," Nelson let it be known he was wrong.
"Dana said he had the big announcement," Nelson said in his confessional. "I thought I was the big announcement, but apparently I wasn't. Then lo and behold, Kimbo Slice coming through the door."
And so we have the start of, to put it nicely, misunderstandings between Nelson and White.
Nelson, the No. 5 ranked UFC heavyweight, believes he deserves a title shot. White disagrees. And unlike other fighters in other divisions, it doesn’t appear Nelson can talk his way into a championship fight with anything but his fists and feet.
Nelson points to his three-fight win streak, which he hopes to grow to four this Saturday against Stipe Miocic at UFC 161 in Winnipeg. White points out the quality of opponents he has beat compared with those who beat Nelson.
Let’s take a look at Nelson’s fight history since joining the UFC in 2009.
|3/31/10||UFC Fight Night||Stefan Struve||Win||R1 KO/TKO|
|8/7/10||UFC 117||Junior Dos Santos||Loss||Unanimous decision|
|5/28/11||UFC 130||Frank Mir||Loss||Unanimous decision|
|10/29/11||UFC 137||Mirko Cro Cop||Win||R3 KO/TKO|
|2/4/12||UFC 143||Fabricio Werdum||Loss||Unanimous decision|
|5/26/12||UFC 146||Dave Herman||Win||R1 KO/TKO|
|12/15/12||Ultimate Finale 16||Matt Mitrione||Win||R1 KO/TKO|
|4/27/13||UFC 159||Cheick Kongo||Win||R1 KO/TKO|
There’s no denying the fact that Nelson (20-7) comes to fight every time. Three straight first-round knockouts, plus the fact that his three losses all went the distance would indicate his ability to both throw and take punches.
And if you heard the roar of the crowd in Newark at UFC 159 after Nelson knocked out Kongo, you’d understand his status as beloved fan favorite. Don’t let his physique fool you. “Big Country” can get after it in the cage.
But look a little closer at those three losses:
Junior Dos Santos: Two fights after beating Nelson, Dos Santos was UFC heavyweight champion. He is considered one of the two best heavyweights in the world right now.
Frank Mir: He’s a two-time former heavyweight champion.
Fabricio Werdum: One of the best jiu-jitsu players in any division, he beat up Nelson on the feet as well.
Nelson does what he is supposed to do, which is beat the fighters he should beat. He needs to come up with a victory against a top-level guy while he's still a top-level fighter rather than just a top-level name. Miocic (9-1) isn’t that guy right now.