MMAFighting.com's Ben Fowlkes caught up with UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson as he prepares for his bout with Croatian striker Mirko Filipovic on Saturday at UFC 137 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The rotund, mullet-sporting 35-year-old talked in detail about the difficulties he had against Frank Mir at UFC 130, including a bout with pneumonia:
"In that fight, I just hit a wall. And I hit a wall fast. I hit the wall, like, the first minute. I think it kind of showed on my face in the fight. But I pushed through it, gave a hundred percent of what I had, and just came out on the losing end."
The Tuesday after the fight, Nelson would stagger into the emergency room and find out that he had walking pneumonia. Even with a course of antibiotics, he'd spend the next month or so trying to kick the illness. He'd also end up questioning whether taking a fight against a former UFC heavyweight champion in this state was really the best career move.
"The one thing that I definitely learned from this one is, I'm always a fighter first and a businessman second, and that one taught me to be a businessman before a fighter. When you're injured or sick, the thing is, you've still got to provide for your family. I hadn't fought for ten months before that, and I'm just trying to put food on the table and take care of my bills. It was one of those things, plus it was an awesome opportunity. You beat Frank and you're right back in the mix."
Nelson spotlights one of the dilemmas that most fighters have dealt with at one time in their careers. Fighting through injury or illness in order to get paid. Most of us have done that on some level, but could you physically push yourself to win a fight while suffering from something that's sapping your energy?
Nelson also talks about training with Mir in preparation for Mirko, beating a legend to become a legend, and the possibility that he gets the axe if he loses to 'Cro Cop' on Saturday night.