Roy Nelson has two problems. First, he is on a two-fight losing streak (to Junior dos Santos at UFC 117 last August, and to Mir in May) in a league where only the handful of fighters most highly regarded by management keep their job after three losses. And Nelson has come under frank fire from UFC President Dana White for looking like a fat guy, in a sport where most fighters diet to a six pack, and then start to cut hard.
White has suggested that he needs to see a different Roy Nelson, and that 205 might be his proper home. Nelson's response?
"My hair has grown out a little longer," Nelson quipped. "My beard is a little longer. So definitely, we're going to see a different Roy Nelson. I just want to basically wow people with my beard, so definitely going for that."
"You know what?" Nelson continued. "Everybody always talks about my weight, but that's throughout my whole entire life. It's nothing new. I'm sure everybody is going to talk about my weight next week, and then after my fight, and then my weight after that. It's just because people are mean."
"To me, I look in the mirror every day, my wife thinks I'm beautiful, so I'm going to say probably not (look different)," he admitted.
"I hope I just perform better. Looks are in the eye of the beholder."
With the looks problem unsolved. not losing three in a row becomes Mir's paramount task in keeping his job. Big Country's solution includes enrolling a new member to his "Country Club." To the regular camp members Jose Salgado, R.J. Richter, Anthony Brown, and James Johnson, plus additional training at Xtreme Couture, Nelson has enlisted the last man to beat him, Frank Mir.
It is an inteliigent, if surprising choice, given that Mir knocked out Cro Cop at UFC 119 last September.
"This one actually just fell in place," said Nelson. "He was a southie, (like) Cro Cop, and me being a good jiu-jitsu guy, like Nogueira, so it was just a perfect fit."
"There's nothing strange about it. I think everybody in MMA, paths always cross, especially if you've been in this sport as long as we both have."
For his part, CroCop has enlisted the help of Pat Barry. The two can be seen below engaging in the ancient Croat warrior tradition of building fighting spirit by singing war songs.
“This is the official website of the Mixed Martial Arts llc. Commercial
reproduction, distribution or transmission of any part or parts of this website
or any information contained therein by any means whatsoever without the prior
written permission is not permitted.”