Exclusive: UFC Star Roy Nelson Talks Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin

This is a guest feature interview by Duane Finley. It is often said in the fight business you are only as good as your last…

By: Bloody Elbow | 13 years ago
Exclusive: UFC Star Roy Nelson Talks Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

This is a guest feature interview by Duane Finley.

It is often said in the fight business you are only as good as your last performance. When victory is obtained on the sport’s biggest stage the doors will open to larger paydays and a stronger push from the organization. Normally winning a high profile bout is the only way to garner positive attention but from time to time an exception will arise and a fighter will find respect in the rubble of defeat. For TUF winner Roy Nelson, a gritty three round war against number one contender Junior dos Santos has placed him on the front lines of the UFC heavyweight division.

After a rough start against the powerful Brazilian, Nelson battled his way back into the fight and ultimately accomplished what no other fight before him has done and took Dos Santos the distance. For his efforts Nelson was then slated to face former UFC Heavyweight Interim champion Shane Carwin at UFC 125 in Las Vegas but after Carwin announced he was pulling out of the fight to undergo back surgery the matchup was left in limbo.

With Nelson sitting in a co-headlining slot for the card several names were thrown around and Nelson accepted each call with open arms but after the UFC failed to secure an opponent, “Big Country” was eventually pulled off of the card entirely. The aftermath has left Nelson as a man apart as he now waits for the UFC to find his next opponent and just when it appeared that no one wanted to face the former IFL champion, a recently dethroned UFC behemoth came to call. The news broke last week that Brock Lesnar has asked to fight Roy Nelson and the rumors have created a buzz in the world of MMA. In this Bloody Elbow exclusive interview, Nelson sat down with Duane Finley and unleashed his opinion on Brock Lesnar, other rumored opponents and making the fight happen whether it would be in the UFC or taking it back to Lesnar’s roots and going under the bright lights of the WWE.

With the news coming out that Roy Nelson had been removed from the card at UFC 125 and replaced with the recently merged WEC champion Jose Aldo, Nelson was asked how he felt about the move and he started the interview in proper fashion.

“I think being pulled off of UFC 125 is a benefit for me because I can rehab my knee and get everything back to normal. Maybe I’ll go on tour…like a Nutrabolics tour or something like that after surgery but I’m not sure yet. I think the reason I was pulled off of the card is that there are couple of names in the business that can co-headline with Roy Nelson.”

Throughout the entire process of signing on to face Carwin to the eventual removal from the card Nelson has used his Twitter account to not only showcase his personality but give MMA fans a look at his unique perspective.

When asked about his “tweets” Nelson laughed, “I try to do what I can do and I just haven’t found a good way to charge for my sense of humor.”

Despite the back and forth of instant media the fact remains that Nelson remains in limbo without a challenger insight…until former champion Brock Lesnar mentioned that he wanted his next bout to come against “Big Country”. Nelson was excited to talk about a possible fight with Lesnar.

“Fighting Brock is interesting to me because he is the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history. He held the belt longer than Randy Couture and I’m not sure about the number of defenses but when you fight once a year you will be able to hold that title for awhile. It’s easy to hold a belt if you do that way rather than fight three or four times but I have to give it to him for holding the title as long as he did.”

As soon as the word broke that Lesnar was interested in fighting Nelson stories began to pour in about Lesnar looking for an easier matchup rather than pursuing redemption against Cain Velasquez. Those stories painted Nelson as a lackey of sorts who would be a stepping stone to Lesnar’s return to glory. When asked about this aspect of the matchup Nelson put down his sense of humor and fired.

“Brock is getting slack for asking to fight me because people think he should get a rematch. I don’t know if the powers that be want to see otherwise but it really just comes down to the MMA media wanting hits on their website by taking shots at Brock. You would never see anyone of these writers ask Brock to his face why he balls up when he gets punched just as you wouldn’t see them asking me why I’m considered as a lackluster challenge for him. In a sense it’s just like when Fedor lost. As soon as he was defeated here came the storm of how he is washed up and done for…Dana White even did it. At the end of the day you are going to win some and lose some but the marker of a champion is how many times you can get back up. I think it’s great that Brock wants to fight me. It would be a great matchup and I believe the fans want to see it so let’s make it happen. I don’t care if it is in the UFC or the WWE…let’s just get down to it.”

More Roy Nelson in the full entry.

The mention of the WWE took the interview in a peculiar direction and it was a path that Nelson was more than happy to walk down.

When asked if I had heard his answer correctly he replied, “I’ll fight Brock in the UFC because they actually put on fights that the fans want to see. If the UFC isn’t up for it and we have to do it in the WWE that’s fine. If Brock still doesn’t want to fight there I guess I’ll take on the Undertaker because I’m sure he’d be happy to fight me. We can do Hell in the Cell or we can even do a complete throwback and sign a Lion’s Den match like Ken Shamrock. I can get paid to act. What’s wrong with the A-Team? I’ll be like Rampage but I think I have a little better personality. I can bring back some tag lines like “Whatcha talking bout foo?” then I’ll come with the “Whatcha talking bout Wills?”

A bout with Brock Lesnar has the potential to open the doors to what Roy Nelson has been seeking throughout his entire career. During his time on “The Ultimate Fighter” UFC President Dana White consistently chided Nelson’s arrogance and despite White proclaiming he has now found respect for Nelson, the relationship still seems strained.

“After losing to Cain he dropped down a few spots in the rankings but a win over Lesnar would definitely put me up there at the top. It would be an honor to fight Brock and it would definitely show that I belong in the Top 10 and will not be going away any time soon,” Nelson said.

While the news of a potential Lesnar vs. Nelson fight has stirred up the MMA fan base it will have to compete with a possible end to the trilogy between Lesnar and Mir. No sooner than the belt was around Velasquez’s waist were there talks of a third meeting between Frank and Brock.

Nelson once again became sharp with his words.

“If Frank Mir is going to fight anybody then make him fight Carwin again. Frank is good about fighting people two or three times and consistency is good. He hasn’t had his second bout with Shane yet so we need to make that happen.”

There has been talk in the past of a Nelson vs. Mir matchup but despite “Big Country’s” willingness to mix it up with the former champion for one reason or another it is a fight that has never been put together.

“All I know is that in this business there is never any rhyme or reason to what happens. I can see Frank Mir getting a title shot just by waiting. There is no rhyme or reason and I can see Frank Mir fighting Cheick Kongo again just because they need to fulfill the Mir quota. In our business very little ever makes sense and it comes down to name recognition, marketing and branding. Frank Mir is a brand for the UFC.”

One name that came out to ask for a shot at Nelson was former Pride champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. The Croatian striker issued a statement encouraging the UFC to sign the fight to which Nelson once again accepted willingly. As Nelson waited for the bout to materialize he would soon discover he had been removed from the card entirely. 

“The reason the Cro Cop fight didn’t happen was based on his last outing. That in addition to being in the co-headliner slot. Who the UFC picks to fight on the pay per view portion of the card is a big choice. Cro Cop didn’t have a great performance his last time out and so he’s probably still on the pay per views but not as a headliner…kind of how the UFC uses Clay Guida on cards is where you will see Cro Cop next. He is certainly still fun to watch but you are not going to shell out $50 to see him fight,” said Nelson.

With all of that being said another issue that picks at Nelson’s brain is the current Top 10 rankings for the heavyweight division. While he gives praise and credit for those he feels are at the top of the food chain there are some fighter rankings that baffle him.

“In the fight game you are as good as your last fight. Brett Rogers is a great example. He knocks out Arlovski and the next thing you know he is in the Top 10. Granted he did knock out a former UFC champion but 9 out of 10 times I see that fight going a different way. If you get taken the distance by Ruben “Warpath” Villareal then you have problems. If Brett Rogers is one of your Top 10 fighters in the world then I would be -37.”

I then asked Nelson how he would shake up the current rankings and what he was going to do to earn the respect that he feels he deserves.

“Right now my plan since Carwin pulled out is to go Brock, Nogueira and Shane Carwin. After that run I will go fight for the belt,” Nelson replied.

The mention of Carwin drew attention to the fact that the powerful heavyweight may have pulled out of their scheduled fight but he had not disappeared from “Big Country’s” radar. 

“He just got out of surgery yesterday and I think he goes next week on his tour so he is pretty booked up already,” said Nelson. “If all goes well and I do get on the Mir plan I will get at least two or three more opportunities to fight Carwin so I’m sure it will all come back around eventually.”

With Nelson on a roll I decided to ask him about the recent merger between the UFC and the WEC. The particular focus fell on the announcement that the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard would then face the winner of Ben Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis. While Edgar and Maynard are considered two of the world’s best lightweights, neither Henderson or Pettis have faced anything close to Top 10 caliber talent.

“The only thing that makes sense is combining the two divisions and the belts that come with them. It’s basically showing who the best 155 lb. fighter in the organization is now that we have this new batch of fighters in the mix. Hypothetically speaking if the UFC co-promoted and brought in Melendez from Strikeforce and Alvarez from Bellator they could hold a tournament format to see who the top lightweight in the world truly was. We won’t see it but that would settle those types of questions. I would really like to see a Gran Prix format done throughout the year in my weight class. Granted you are going to have your wins and losses but it creates drama and build up and that is what sells fights. That’s why the WWE does so well and that is also why Roy Nelson vs. Brock Lesnar is good drama. You have this monster of a specimen with a weird looking thing on his chest and you have Roy Nelson who looks like the average day American hero.”

With the interview coming to a close I asked Nelson to give a final update on his status after being taken off the card at UFC 125 and to let the readers of Bloody Elbow know where they can find more Roy Nelson.

“The last I heard I was pulled off of UFC 125 so now I’m just waiting on a phone call to find out what is next. Whether it is Dana, the lawyers or whoever I’m just left waiting. The door is open for all challengers and who knows…maybe it will be Rampage now that he wants to fight heavyweight so we’ll see. Make sure you follow me @roynelsonmma on Twitter and check out www.roynelson.com. The new website is going to be up soon and check out Twitter because I always have some funny s*&% to say.”

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