Heavyweight Roy Nelson is never one to shy away from stirring the pot, and today during a conference call in support of next week’s UFC 161 event, he did that a few times.
Nelson (19-7 MMA, 6-3 UFC), a frequent antagonist of UFC President Dana White, fights Stipe Miocic (9-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) at the June 15 event. Today he took a shot at his UFC stablemates as he talked about the portly, shaggy appearance that his UFC boss counts as one of several gripes with the fighter.
“I don’t know if it works in my favor,” Nelson said. “It’s just people that tend to be in our sport tend to abuse performance-enhancing drugs, so that’s the reason why I probably don’t look like the typical UFC fighter.
Later asked to explain why he is fighting Miocic instead of potential opponent Daniel Cormier (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at next week’s pay-per-view event, Nelson threw another sideways jab and hinted that Cormier turned down a proposed bout.
“I think I got offered Cormier, and I think he turned it down, and then they went down the list,” he said. “I think Travis Browne (was a possibility), and so forth and so forth.”
Cormier could not be reached for comment.
Nelson vs. Miocic now serves as UFC 161's co-main event after an injury to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira scratched a planned co-headliner with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. The event takes place at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Miocic is ranked No. 15 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA heavyweight rankings. (Cormier currently sits at No. 3, and Nelson is No. 7.)
That’s a steep step down in stature, but Nelson, who’s stopped his past three opponents with punches, said the switch was simply a matter of which fighter stepped up first. Brown, for instance, is booked to meet Alistair Overeem at UFC on FOX Sports 1 1 in August.
“Stipe was already on the card, and Stipe is the one that said yes,” Nelson said.
According to Nelson’s manager, Mike Kogan, the bout is the last the fighter’s current contract. However, Nelson has no plans to stop ruffling feathers any time soon – especially if he keeps concussing opponents.
“On any given day, I know I can knock anybody out,” Nelson said.
For the latest on UFC 161, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.