Roy Nelson and UFC president Dana White have an odd relationship. Ever since Nelson was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter 10, White has made it clear that he's not a fan of Nelson's personality. Nelson has tried to play that up to a certain degree, bothering White with statements about all sorts of things. One of them is that he thinks he deserves a UFC heavyweight title shot, and White disagrees. In an interview with Kevin Iole of Yahoo, White made it quite clear what Nelson has to do to get a shot - beat a top-ranked fighter:
"Roy loves to say I'll never give him a title shot," White said. "But dude, beat someone and then I'll give you the shot. Roy is knocking off these guys ranked six through 10, but when he gets to fighting the top five guys, he can't do the same thing. You're not going to get a title shot for beating No. 6 and No. 8. You have to beat the top guys."
Nelson currently sits in the number five contender's spot on the UFC official rankings, but has lost to two of the men ahead of him on the list (Junior dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum), and one behind him (Frank Mir). Nelson has reasons for all of these losses (knee injury vs. JDS, an early cut against Werdum, pneumonia vs. Mir), but White doesn't want to hear it.
Still though, he won't let his personal feelings for Nelson stop him from possibly getting a shot. He said "anything is possible" when asked if Roy might get one if he beats Stipe Miocic at UFC 161, but re-iterated the fact that he needs a big win:
"Look, everyone knows how I feel about Roy, and everyone remembers how I felt about Tito (Ortiz)," White said. "But I never prevented any fight for Tito from happening. If [Nelson] goes out there and beats the guys ranked head of him, then yeah, he'll get one. But he's not going to get one just by talking about it and doing whatever the hell he is trying to do. He's going to have to fight for it, just like everyone else."
One thing that didn't come up in the article was the gorilla in the room - Nelson's expiring contract. That might play a part in all of this as well.