With 'Country' contract set to expire, UFC 161 could mark Roy Nelson's final fight inside the Octagon

USA TODAY Sports

Beating Stipe Miocic at UFC 161 may not get Roy Nelson a title shot, but it's still one of the most important fights in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career. Here's why.

Roy Nelson could be less than a week away from free agency.

"Big Country" is expected to trade leather with Stipe Miocic this Saturday night (June 15, 2013) on the main card of the UFC 161: "Evans vs. Henderson" pay-per-view (PPV) event, which takes place at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Win or lose, it's the last fight on his current UFC contract.

Despite his accomplishments on the regional circuit, Nelson (19-7) didn't become a household name until 2009, when he floored Brendan Schaub to win The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Season 10. It was during the combat sports reality show where he also bounced Kimbo Slice from the Spike TV competition.

Since then, he's been a huge pain in the ass for UFC President Dana White (his words, not mine). White also doesn't believe Nelson takes his fighting career very seriously and said the portly power-puncher is "irritating" and "not very smart."

Nelson's response? He wants to fight Dana to settle their differences "like men."

While they may not be able to tolerate one another personally, there's a good chance it won't stand in the way of their professional relationship. If White can do business with Tito Ortiz, he can probably find a way to keep things cordial with Nelson, too.

Plus, there's another potential fight already on the table.

But just a few days ahead of his final bout, Nelson tells Las Vegas Sun he has "no idea" what his contract status is, while White insists "Big Country" turned down a recent contract extension. That's exactly what happened with Cheick Kongo prior to his UFC 159 loss back in April.

And then there's that whole "Rampage" thing...

As of now, there is nothing but speculation. Nelson is 6-3 inside the Octagon and riding a three-fight winning streak with as many violent knockout finishes. His stock -- both in and out of ZUFFA -- is about as high as it can get prior to this weekend in "The Peg."

It's safe to say there is a lot riding on this fight.


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