COMMENTARY | On June 15, 2013, at UFC 161, heavyweight Roy Nelson faces a game opponent in Stipe Miocic. A win for Nelson means little with regard to his heavyweight standing. However, for Miocic, a victory over his #5 ranked opponent would speak volumes, and cement his place among the top 10 heavyweights in the UFC.
Nelson is riding high on a three fight win streak. Despite his portly figure, the heavyweight is a fan favorite and is inching toward a title shot. He has beaten the likes of other name contenders and veterans in Cheick Kongo, Matt Mitrione, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović, Stefan Struve, and Brendan Schaub.
The Las Vegas native is heavy-handed, and 12 of his 19 wins have come via knock out. Nelson has never been submitted, and is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie. At 36-years old, Nelson still has the desire to fight and strives for the greatest prize in the UFC - the heavyweight championship title.
With over 600,000 twitter followers, Nelson has certainly built a significant fan base. In a campaign to get him a title shot, on May 1, 2013, a fan tweeted:
"@danawhite if your (sic) going to fire people for losing to @roynelsonmma (Cheick Kongo), than (sic) get ready to fire velasquez (the current UFC heavyweight champion) #NextWorldChamp."
The posting was soon thereafter retweeted by Nelson.
Along with his tremendous fan base, Nelson has garnered the attention of other elite contenders. After his dramatic knock out win over Kongo, former Olympian turned undefeated heavyweight MMA fighter Daniel Cormier expressed interest in fighting the Las Vegas native. Immediately following UFC 159, Nelson posted on Twitter, "You should always come to the horse. If I have to go through DC (Daniel Cormier) to get my belt I will."
However, Cormier is in the process of relinquishing his status as a heavyweight, and will reportedly fight as a heavyweight only once more before dropping down to the 205 pound division. In that, at UFC 161, Nelson will battle a hungry Miocic.
For Miocic, a victory against Nelson would most likely place him on the UFC's heavyweight top10 list. The former NCAA Division I wrestler has put together an impressive record (9-1). Despite his extensive wrestling background, the former Golden Gloves champion enjoys knocking out his opponents just as much as Nelson. Seven of Miocic's nine wins have come by knock out, and the Ohio native has only seen a decision just once.
An impressive win against Nelson would catapult Miocic to stardom, and would more than likely have him fight nothing but the best heavyweights from here on out. On the flip side, even though a victory over a non-ranked opponent in Miocic will only serve to pad Nelson's resume, a fight between he and Fabricio Werdum in the not so far future would be idea.
Provided that Nelson makes it pass Miocic at UFC 161, a fight against the #3 ranked heavyweight in the world in Werdum makes sense, and would carry huge title shot implications.
Werdum and Nelson already have history. The two fought to a decision in February 2012, with the former taking the win. However, moving forward, Nelson claims to be more than confident in his striking abilities.
During a UFC 161 conference call, he claimed that his knock out power could floor anyone in the heavyweight division. Nelson stated, "On any given day, I know I can beat anybody up and knock anybody out."
Judging from his knock out record and current win streak, Nelson's claims are more than justified.
Clinton Alexander Bullock has been a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner for many years. He has studied mixed martial arts for 12 years and has been published in the Yahoo! News, the Bleacher Report, Philadelphia Sunday Sun Newspaper, and Next Step Magazine. Follow him on MMAUnchained.net, Facebook & Twitter @clintonbullock.
__________________________________________________________________Fabricio Werdum Stakes His Claim as a Championship Contender with Submission Win Over Another MMA Legend
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