Who's ready for a Whopper?
Rotund Roy Nelson has won over mixed martial arts fans across the world with his unique pot-bellied personality.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 champion has surprised many by knocking out top prospects Brendan Schaub and Stefan Struve in his first two UFC fights.
Nelson also gained many fans in a losing effort at UFC 117, forcing Junior dos Santos to a decision for the first time in his UFC career in a number one contender eliminator match. "Big Country" ate a ton of punishment, but kept pushing forward fearlessly against the Brazilian's brutal bombs.
Nelson was a bit overshadowed by some larger stars during a recent UFC 130 conference call, but he still took the time to inject some of his personality into the media spot.
The beer-bellied brawler got things started by breaking down his UFC 130 opponent Frank Mir's skill-set:
"You've always got to be scared of Frank. He's a true mixed martial artist. He's good at every aspect. He knocked out Cro Cop. Frank already said it, he's bigger and stronger than Dos Santos so I'm assuming he hits harder."
Nelson and Mir are friends, living in Las Vegas, Nevada, and training there full-time. Fighting friends has been an issue for many UFC competitors, but for Nelson, it all comes down to providing for his family.
And family will always come before friendship:
"It's one of those things. We get paid to win. Basically, you put your family before all your other friends. That's what it comes down to. If you're going to derail your friends, it has to be at your family's cost."
After his match with dos Santos, Nelson had a procedure done on his knee and he's been training for a big fight ever since. He addressed his knee issue and how he feels it will affect his performance next Saturday night (May 28, 2011):
"I think after I had my knee surgery, I think a week later I began training to fight Shane (Carwin). The only thing different for this camp is that it's been a 10 month camp instead of a normal six weeks. It's like it's been Groundhog Day for the last 10 months, just training and training and training. Hopefully, it'll be like fighting like every other time. I'm hoping (my knee) will be able to do everything that I want it to do but I think it should be fine just like any other fight."
Nelson is commonly known as one of legendary grappler Renzo Gracie's most famous black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ). He commented on what training under Gracie has been like in his career and how he feels their family has shaped the modern mixed martial arts landscape:
"Renzo and the whole Gracie family have influenced the whole UFC with jiu-jitsu. Anbody that has any form of grappling, the Gracie family has shaped us in some shape or form. So for me to say I have a black belt from a Gracie, especially Renzo who's a living legend in the sport from fighting tough guys in Pride and the UFC to wherever he's beaten the great guys. He has some of the best MMA jiu-jitsu and he's just a true warrior."
A common theme in the lead-up to Nelson's fight with Mir has been his notable victory over Mir at the 2003 Grappler's Quest. Our very own AintNoSunshine did a fabulous breakdown of the match and "Big Country" briefly commented on how, if at all, the victory affected his upcoming fight:
"It was five years ago and we're doing MMA now. Frank will be facing a bigger and fatter guy now."
The pair "will do MMA" in the UFC 130 co main event, which is set to take place from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It will air live on pay-per-view (PPV), beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
Will "Big Country" be able to 'gut' his way to victory on fight night or will his mullet come up short?
Sound off, Maniacs!