When the heavyweight showdown between Daniel Cormier vs. Roy Nelson was announced earlier this week as the co-main event for UFC 166, which goes down from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Oct. 19, 2013, there was a mixed reaction among the mixed martial arts (MMA) community.
While most fight fans were excited at the intriguing match-up between a heavy-handed brawler with a black belt in jiu-jitsu against an Olympic-level wrestler, others were just as confused about the pairing as far as rankings are concerned.
"DC" (12-0) is coming off a unanimous decision win over Frank Mir at UFC on FOX 7 and is ranked at number three, while "Big Country" (19-8) is fresh off a loss to Stipe Miocic at UFC 161 and holds the number seven spot on the official UFC rankings.
With that information in hand, it's easy to see why many don't see much upside for Cormier to take the bout against a dangerous foe such as Nelson. But according to "DC," he still considers the pudgy pugilist on a three-fight win streak because he's giving him a mulligan for taking the Miocic fight on short notice.
He explains to Bloody Elbow:
"I'm pretty excited about it. It's the fight that we've wanted for a little bit. I think it's going to be a great fight. He's a guy that brings the fight every time. He's an exciting fighter. I'm happy to be in there with him. I've said multiple times that I don't hold the Stipe Miocic fight against him, being as he took the fight on such short notice. I kind of give him a mulligan. So, in my eyes he's still on that win streak he was on. He's a very dangerous guy. It's no secret as to what he does. He's a great grappler. He's got big knockout power. And he's a tough athlete. I think people mistake, they do the eye test on Roy and it gives them a false sense of what they're stepping in the Octagon with. That's not gonna happen with me."
The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner plans on dropping down to light heavyweight to challenge division kingpin Jon Jones, but a loss to Nelson on his way down could be detrimental to those plans.
However, it's obvious the American kickboxing Academy (AKA)-trained fighter isn't worried one bit about the possibility of suffering the first loss of his professional MMA career.
But is "DC" risking too much unnecessarily?