Bellator MMA will proudly welcome former UFC heavyweight contender Roy Nelson to its promotional ranks later this evening (Sat., Sept. 23, 2017) at Bellator 183 live on Spike TV from inside SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., as “Big Country” takes on Javy Ayala.
Nelson, 41, signed with Bellator this past May, becoming yet another marquee free agent to jump ship and leave UFC behind. As Nelson gears up for his Bellator debut he reflected on the positive change so late into his career.
"It's been exciting," said Nelson about Bellator 183’s fight week. "It's when you wake up for a new job, even though it's the same old job, but it's a new job and you want to put your best foot forward."
"The biggest difference is being excited to go to work, I can't wait for Saturday."
While “Big Country” has been fighting professionally since 2004 he’s experiencing a new sense of purpose entering Bellator 183. A change of scenery is always a good source of motivation, especially if it offers more gratitude and positive feedback.
"There's a big difference in my enthusiasm," explained Nelson. "`Please' and `thank you' go a long way. Anytime someone says `please' and `thank you,' it means so much more than `just do this.'
Nelson, who spent nearly eight years with UFC, hasn’t felt any love loss for his former promoter entering this new chapter of his career. In fact, the move over to Bellator was a pretty easy decision for the Las Vegas native.
“What brought me to Bellator was Scott Coker, Viacom and one of my good friends, Mike Kogan," said Nelson. "I've known Mike for I'd say 10 years. And then there's the new regime at the UFC. There's a lot of things.”
"Actually, it was a super easy decision," added Nelson. "It was a no brainer. It had nothing to do with the offer. It had everything to do with `please' and `thank you.' That is appreciation. One of the things in marriage is you have to understand what appreciation is about, and that'll keep me for longevity. That's why my fans love me, because I appreciate them. Because with no fans, there would be no sport, no fighting for me, no UFC, no Bellator, no Rizin, there'd be nothing without the fans."
If Nelson is able to carry his newly found motivation and attitude into the Bellator cage then he could quickly climb the heavyweight ladder. Even at this stage of his career “Big Country” still packs one-punch knockout power and should turn out to be a valuable asset to the Bellator stable.
Bellator 183 will start with “Prelims” undercard matches at 7 p.m. ET followed by the main card at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV. MMAmania.com will deliver results and play-by-play updates for the entirety of Bellator 183’s card below.