Nelson hopes big win over Kongo earns title shot


Some fighters aspire to be the Anderson Silva of their division, or the Georges St-Pierre, or the Jon Jones. UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson appeared at the UFC 159 media day at Madison Square Garden in New York, and cited a less likely figure.

"If they go, 'Hey, you can have the next title shot,' I'll wait for two years, three years, four years, whatever," said Nelson. "I'll take that. I'll be the Rashad Evans of the heavyweight division."

Standing in Nelson's way is Cheick Kongo; the pair fight on the main card of UFC 159 Saturday night. A win over Kongo would put Nelson on a 3-0 streak, following wins over Matt Mitrione and Dave Herman. A first round KO would put Nelson on a 3-0 streak, with three first round KOs.

That would be a reversal from his previous fights, where in his previous four fights. Junior dos Santos, Frank Mir, and Fabricio Werdum all beat Nelson via decision over three rounds; his sole win in the four-fight stretch was vs. Mirko Cro Cop, and that went into the third, too.

The reversal parallels an about face in Nelson's career. For his first three years in MMA, Nelson relied on his wrestling and black belt in BJJ. For three years, he never hit a heavy bag, or training in boxing. He thought striking was unnecessary.

Then, in his 8th fight, he knocked out Vin Lucero in the IFL.

“Such a fluke,” said Nelson. “I was just throwing punches and happened to knock somebody out. I just realized then that it was easier to knock somebody out than to take them down.”

The change was profound.

Of Nelson's six wins before Lucero, five were by submission, one by decision. Of his 13 wins since Lucero, 12 were by KO.

So Saturday night, Nelson's looking for a knockout.

"At the end of the day, fans like to see me fight regardless," said Nelson. "But if I can get a knockout faster and be in and out, I usually can get back to the victory dinner. The more I bust my hump, the less work I actually have to do in the ring. I've taken that philosophy. I've always been a procrastinator, so I would always train as late as possible. But now I train a little more and it makes things a lot easier."

Like Nelson, Kongo too has seen a change a career turn around. After losing to Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir, Kongo is 4-1-1 his last six.

"Cheick has a few strategies," said Nelson. "I've got to make sure he doesn't try to grab my shorts. That's a big one. Knees to the balls – that's a big one. No grabbing the fence. And then hopefully he won't run. So those are all the things I'm looking at. I'm there to fight, and try to knock his block off."

"If Cheick wants to fight, then I'm ready to go. But if he's going to run, I didn't bring my running shoes. I'll chase him down if I have to. But at the end of the day, I just want to fight."

Nelson knows Cain Velasquez defends his UFC heavyweight title vs. Bigfoot Silva fight next month, and he wants the winner.

"It really comes down to the fans," said Nelson. "It is about that timing. After UFC 160, it's only a month difference. So the timing after this, if I win, I definitely could get the next title shot."

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Recent Comments »

LyotoBundy site profile image  

4/27/13 11:51 AM by LyotoBundy

Roy vs Browne still wouldn't get him a shot. 2 more convincing wins against higher opponents and a real obvious competitive drive would IMO.

Shoguns Shorts site profile image  

4/27/13 9:32 AM by Shoguns Shorts

I wonder who Roy brought into his camp to simulate Kongo's nut shots?

KingofBJJ site profile image  

4/27/13 9:26 AM by KingofBJJ

Nah. Reem was given a chance to fight JDS at UFC 160 but pulled out for no reason. Had he beaten JDS that would put him in for a title shot.Mark Hunt replaced Reem and will fight JDS.I would think that the winner of the Nelson vs Kongo fight would fight the winner of the JDS vs Hunt fight to contend for the title.Reem could be a wild card sometime this year, perhaps fighting Browne or Struve?

CRMartin11 site profile image  

4/26/13 11:59 AM by CRMartin11

if Werdum beats Big Nog he definitely has earned the next title shot.Overeem should fight the winner of Nelson vs Kongo. It's the perfect fight back for Overeem, and sets him up for a title shot again.

chaplinshouse site profile image  

4/26/13 11:23 AM by chaplinshouse

Kongo = gateway to a title shot.  seems legit

Jaybrone site profile image  

4/26/13 9:48 AM by Jaybrone

Hunt is in the discussion for a title shot because he has beaten a top 10 HW in Struve and is booked against the guy who just lost the belt. Kongo was EARLY in Hunt's run not the guy he beat to start talking title shot.

DJmixmasterMobbie site profile image  

4/26/13 9:46 AM by DJmixmasterMobbie

in my opinion, it would take an active god for the bald father to give that dude a chance at the title. he should be on the show duck dynasty.

sacredhate site profile image  

4/26/13 9:30 AM by sacredhate

some great points here.Fabricio first.and i also will shit in my hand and throw it at dana if he doesn't fight hunt soon.

bozy site profile image  

4/26/13 9:26 AM by bozy

Big Country is my favorite fighter. But no. He needs to beat Kongo and then a top 5 heavyweight.

UGCTT_FryedTakayama site profile image  

4/26/13 9:20 AM by UGCTT_FryedTakayama

Roy vs the Reem. Book it.