WINNIPEG – Roy Nelson is in an interesting position on Saturday night, fighting in Canada for the first time.
For his UFC 161 heavyweight bout against Stipe Miocic (9-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC), Nelson (19-7 MMA, 6-3 UFC) is on the last fight of his current UFC deal.
In fact, UFC President Dana White said, that Nelson made it on the card to begin with has to do with his contract running out. So win or lose on Saturday, Nelson could be in for an interesting negotiation period.
But with a win, what he will not be, White said, is in a position to get a heavyweight title shot.
“If he beats Stipe, he’s not next in line,” White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) on Thursday.
Nelson, with a win, might have good reason to ask for a chance to be next in a line. A victory would give him four straight in the heavyweight division. Heading into the short-notice fight with Miocic, he’s won three straight by first-round knockout, including a pair of bonus awards.
In April at UFC 159, he knocked out Cheick Kongo just a couple minutes into their fight. He stopped Matt Mitrione at the TUF 16 Finale in December, and he dropped Dave Herman in 51 seconds at UFC 146 a little more than a year ago.
White said Nelson’s current deal is up this summer. With one more fight on it, and a need for another fight high up on the bill thanks to a couple of injuries, Nelson was asked to step in and will fight Miocic in the co-main event at MTS Centre in Winnipeg.
“This is his last fight, and this is why he’s on this card,” White said. “We had to get him this fight before his contract expires in July. So we’ll see what happens.”
What will happen, apparently, is a negotiation process for Nelson toward a new deal. A win obviously would give him more bargaining power than a loss.
But White and Nelson have been at odds before – and not about whether or not Nelson brings it in the octagon, but more so about his infamous appearance and the things he has said.
“Roy Nelson knocked out Cheick Kong with a punch to the neck,” White said. “The guy hits hard, he’s got an unbelievable chin, his wrestling is great and he’s a great jiu-jitsu guy. Grooming? Not so well. Watching his weight? Not great. But everywhere else … people love him because he’s a fighter and he’ll go out there and fight anybody. He took this fight, didn’t know who he was going to fight. He’s a guy who will go out and fight and try to knock your head off, and that’s what fans love.
“And they probably love him because I don’t.”
White knows one thing, though – win or lose, entering into contract talks with Nelson might add a few more bumps in their sometimes-rocky promoter-fighter relationship road.
“If he wins, he’s going to say all kinds of stupid s–t,” White said. “That’s what we’re used to. I’m used to him saying stupid s–t. Is it ever easy to negotiate with Roy Nelson? If he loses Saturday, he’ll be tough to deal with. If he loses five in a row, he’ll be tough to deal with.”
For the latest on UFC 161, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.