Bellator 200: “London” takes place at SSE Arena in London, England, on May 25, 2018. Two fights headline the milestone event — “Big Country” Roy Nelson (23-15) taking on Mirko Cro Cop (36-11-2, 1 NC) with an alternate spot in the Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament on the line, and Middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho (15-1) putting his belt up against former DREAM and Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi (43-6-2).
Not-so-coincidentally all four of those men were on the line for today’s Bellator 200 conference call, which was set up to promote the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion’s historic 200th event and give all of the media a chance to chat with these men despite the international time differences from one country to the next.
Complete audio of today’s call is embedded above, and complete coverage of Bellator 200 “London” resides here at MMAmania.com all month long along with conference call notes below.
Mirko Cro Cop on being a potential tournament alternate:
“Well to tell the truth I don’t think about it. First of all I don’t think it will happen second I’m just going to concentrate on my fight. I like tournament but basically this is not a tournament in the way I’m used to fighting. For me it’s three fights in one night or two fights, this is not the case, it’s just a single fight.”
Roy Nelson on whether a previous win gives him an advantage against Cro Cop:
“No I think every Heavyweight fight is different, especially the fact that fight happened years ago. I think Mirko’s done really well for the last couple of years so he’s definitely improved, but as a fighter as a Heavyweight you just got out there and you just fight and put on a show for the fans.”
Cro Cop on whether or not he wants to avenge that prior loss to Nelson:
“Well of course. No I’m not happy just to fight in Bellator, no of course I would like to avenge my loss against Roy. That’s a product of the fight, not just participating of course. Every true fighter wants to win in the fight.”
Gegard Mousasi on his preparation for this world title fight.
“Training went well you know. It’s a title fight so it’s more on the line and I’ll step up. I’ve done everything to win the belt so I’m prepared. I’m more hungry I believe. He’s a tough fighter but preparation was excellent. I don’t want to jinx it but I’ve never felt better.”
Is Gegard Mousasi the toughest challenger Rafael Carvalho has faced?
“This is our biggest challenge, not only for the other fighter, but also for the event — a historic edition for the event. So this is great for me.”
Rafael Carvalho on how much he’s improved since he joined Bellator:
“I believe my improvement is 120 percent since I’ve started in Bellator. I believe (Mousasi’s) biggest problem is that he’s so self-confident.”
Does Gegard Mousasi think he’s overconfident?
“If you’re not self-confident then you should do something else. I respect my opponents, I think highly of Carvalho, but of course I think I’m going to win. If not why should I fight?” What does a title shot mean to him? “I’m very hungry, it’s for the belt, I’ve done everything right to win the belt. It’s a fight, you go there and you never know. It’s a fight. I’m prepared for five rounds wherever the fight goes but the belt means a lot yeah. I’m 100% ready.”
Roy Nelson on fighting in the United Kingdom and facing a legend:
“Any time you can go showcase yourself to a new set of fans live is a big thing, and then to go away with more fans is awesome. Any time I can go to another country and get more fans is always awesome and I think it’s good for Bellator. Any time you’re fighting Mirko, Fedor or Big Nog, those are the legends of the Heavyweight division, and I’m just lucky enough to be able to fight Mirko twice. Any time you can fight a Heavyweight legend that’s always awesome.”
Cro Cop talks about his undefeated run since 2014:
“It makes me happy. That’s the most simplest answer I can give to you. That’s my life, it makes me happy, I like winning and that’s it more or less.”
Cro Cop on whether he would have joined the Grand Prix:
“I didn’t receive a call and now there is no need to argue what would have happen, but most likely I would have (joined), but back then I had some business obligations to RIZIN. This is also good you know.”
Cro Cop on his goals for the future in MMA:
“Right now I’m enjoying what I’m doing you know. I am a professional fighter and I enjoy fighting, that’s it. I train every day, I train all around the world, I fight all around the world, last time Tokyo next time London, it makes me feel great. In this business it’s hard to say. I will just do it as long as it makes me happy and as long as my health allows. It can be one or two fights, it can be three, I don’t know, especially at my age.”
Nelson on getting this rematch to get back in as an alternate:
“Lately I’ve been doing my rematches. The one I wanted the most was round No. 4 for Matt. When they called me and told me it was Mirko to get back in it, I said let’s do it. Everybody else I just want to punch in the face to get paid.”
Cro Cop on whether or not he’d talk a multi-fight deal:
“I have just a single fight with Bellator and I’m concentrating just on my fight with Roy Nelson. Yes I’m planning to have a fight on the 30th of December (though), a farewell fight in Japan. It’s something about ‘Big Country’ that I’m interested to have a rematch with a guy who previous beat me. Now I have a chance to fight again with Roy, it makes me motivated and makes me happy. I will do my best to beat him you know?”
Mousasi on how he feels about getting the opportunities he should have before:
“Fighting at Bellator 200, now I’m fighting for the belt, yeah I think it’s what I want but also I’m obligated to deliver — what can I say? My goal was first to win the Middleweight belt, after that everything is open. (I’d like) Rory MacDonald but first this fight.”
Mousasi on his tough fight with Alexander Shlemenko:
“100 percent. The way I fought in the third round, the eye injury changed a lot of things, but I’ve stepped up and now I’m in the best shape I can be.”
Roy Nelson on how much longer he can keep going:
“I’m definitely intrigued by certain opponents. Chuck Liddell is getting ready to fight again, I think I have a lot more years left, I think us Heavyweights can do this until we’re 50.”
Rafael Carvalho on if he feels like he’s being overlooked in this fight:
“I believe all the responsibility now is on Mousasi because he needs to show the way he fights. All the things shall return to him, so I’m very... I don’t know how to express it. Everything’s fine for me and I’m not worried.”
Nelson on how he feels about being a potential alternate to get back in the tournament:
“Any time you can get back into title contention is always nice. For me I just want to get through Mirko and then get a chance to fight Matt Mitrione again, that’s where I’m looking, and then whoever has the belt — that’s my two agendas.”
Nelson on how Mirko Cro Cop has improved during his win streak:
“I think that the one thing that he’s definitely improved on is that he’s beating everybody up in the first round. He’s bringing it back to the old school where we go out there and try to finish fights. He just goes out there and finishes fights.”
Nelson on Kongo not being in the Grand Prix:
“For me I think the Grand Prix was just to get people interested back in the Heavyweight division. If I have to fight Cro Cop and then Kongo to get to the title fight, I’m all for it. So he definitely deserves a shot at the title, but then again who has he been fighting? His last fight was the only one he finished in five or six years.”
Cro Cop on his previous eye injury and where he stands today:
“It’s all good. I don’t have any problem with (the eye). Thank God for that. The eye is not where it should be, I can fix that, but that’s just appearance. Maybe after my career if I want to be a model but so far I don’t need that — and the model thing was a joke of course. I’m over it and I’m ready to go.”
Mousasi on what he thought of Fedor’s fight with Mir:
“Yeah Fedor did well. They’re not in their prime but I think it was an entertaining fight and people love to watch Fedor still so it’s good.”
Rafael Carvalho got the same question about Fedor vs. Mir:
“I believe (Fedor) is in old shape again and he is great, he’s fighting a lot, and everybody is looking for it, and now he’s back. He’s great. I just believe he’s great.”
Cro Cop on the same question as well:
“If he’s back or not, I don’t know, but the fight was too short (to tell). Good for him.”
Nelson on the Fedor vs. Mir fight:
“It’s a Heavyweight fight. Anything can happen. You have to watch every second of the fight. I really don’t know who (can win). It’s up for grabs. Hopefully me if somebody gets hurt. I really don’t care for it until I get past Mirko and then I’ll go forward.”
Nelson on how much Cro Cop would be tested before this fight:
“We get tested all the time and then 10 weeks or 11 weeks out doesn’t really make a difference for the fight.”
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