UFC: Roy Nelson says he's the Barry Sanders of MMA


UFC heavyweight contender, Roy Nelson discusses the politics of the UFC, Josh Barnett, Vitor Belfort, Shane Carwin, and how he'll fight anyone, any time if the price is right.

Tuesday night, it was announced that Roy Nelson would be fighting Stipe Miocic on the UFC 161 card. Fans of Big Country were first treated to the news via Ariel Helwani's Twitter, which didn't mention an opponent. I had spoken to Roy about an hour earlier, and specifically asked if the organization was setting up a fight for him, but he wasn't aware of any match making plans at the time. He did, however, mention that his manager, Mike Kogan, might have something in the works. The news would come an hour later, that named Miocic as the opponent.

If any other heavyweight were on a 3 fight hot streak with all the wins coming by way of ferocious knockout, we'd probably be seeing their name thrown around with the words title, number 1 contender and championship belt attached to it, but not Roy Nelson. Instead, they offer up the tough, hard hitting Miocic, who unfortunately, isn't a step in the right direction for the title. As a matter of fact, according to the UFC's official rankings, he's not listed in the Top 10. That doesn't mean it won't be a fun fight, it just saddens the Big Country fan in me to not see him get closer to that number 1 spot.

As mentioned earlier, I did speak with Roy Tuesday night, and got his thoughts on the snail's pace with which the UFC is moving him along and how he would feel about a fight with Josh Barnett. He also gave his opinion on Vitor Belfort's odd situation with not being able to fight in Las Vegas. Here's what he had to say:

Anybody, Anytime

I'm always down to give the fans what they want. The thing is, you want to be 100%, but if you're down with the organization, then you're going to do what they want. If they say, 'Hey, you want to fight next week?' Then yeah, you do it. As far as the best performance fight that you can hype up, well, a lot of people want to see Nelson / dos Santos II, Nelson / Velasquez I - there's a lot of fights to make. We'll just have to see.

It all depends on how it's orchestrated. I'm sure you would fight Ronda Rousey tomorrow if they offered you 30 million dollars (for the record, I like my arms where they're at, so I'd have to decline that offer). It all comes down to money. If the money is right, I'll fight anybody. Any time. I'll hit my grandma in the face if the price is right [laughs].

The Politics of Title Shots

I think they're business people. That's why Chael fought last month. They don't want Mark Hunt to win. They want Junior dos Santos to fight Cain Velasquez again. It just makes sense on paper. That fight can make a lot of money. When Overeem got beat by Bigfoot, that kind of messed some things up.

I make money no matter who I fight. Do I want a shot at the belt? Yes, of course I do. Put it this way, I am Barry Sanders on the Detroit Lions. You love to watch me, but you'll never see me play in the Super Bowl. It's just one of those things. It's about politics. It's not about fighting.

Shane Carwin

I always wanted to fight him. He pulled out the first time, right after I had knee surgery. That probably would have been the best time for him to fight me. I thought maybe the third time would have been the charm. It's good that he's moved on. I think he did alright in the UFC. The last time I talked to him, he had full retirement, so he's doing okay. I'm happy that he's happy.

Josh Barnett *It should be noted the interview took place before Barnett's UFC signing*

Well, first thing, is we do VADA. I know he's been popped a couple times, so we definitely want to have an even playing field. It's one of those things where I think it would be a fun fight, though. Josh always brings it. He's an entertaining guy and a great fighter. When he goes out there, he leaves it all in the cage, which is what the fans want. That's why he's so loved in Japan and around the world. He was just hard for the UFC to deal with because he knows what he's worth. I think that's what the UFC didn't like.

Vitor Belfort

He should never get a license in Las Vegas. The only way he can is if there's somebody getting paid off, or whatever. The rules are the rules. If you kill somebody in Texas, you're probably going to get the death penalty. It's just the rules. He's got to live with that.

Appreciation for Short Notice Fights & Being on Standby

Me personally, I've never gotten a phone call saying, 'Hey, we appreciate you.' I stopped trying to think about how the UFC operates. It's like trying to understand a woman. I don't know if my management has gotten any phone calls, if they're working on a fight, or anything like that. I'm always down to fight, but I have management in place to handle those things. My manager makes those decisions so it can be the best for me from a business standpoint, too. If it were up to me, I'd be fighting everybody every week.

You can follow Roy Nelson via his Twitter account, @RoyNelsonMMA

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