In addition to his respected ground game, Nelson also boasts some of the heaviest hands in the heavyweight division and a fighting heart very few opponents can match.
They say looks can be deceiving and, if you've ever seen Roy 'Big Country' Nelson fight, no truer word can be said. Though happy to rub his rotund belly at any available opportunity, Nelson, despite the soft appearance, is one of the hardest men in the UFC's heavyweight division. He is also one of the most talented. On Saturday, May 28, Nelson receives a stern test of his noted grappling credentials, when he reunites with former foe Frank Mir, the former UFC heavyweight champion 'Big Country' once defeated in a 2003 grappling match. “That match was about eight or nine years ago and it means very little now,” says Nelson. “We're doing MMA now and I'm a bigger, fatter guy today. You've always got to be scared of Frank. He's a true mixed martial artist. He knocked out Mirko Cro Cop, and he's bigger and stronger than Junior Dos Santos.” In addition to his respected ground game, Nelson also boasts some of the heaviest hands in the heavyweight division and a fighting heart very few opponents can match. If in doubt, try watching Nelson's heroic three-rounder with the aforementioned Dos Santos last August, a fight in which Nelson withstood a hellacious beating for fifteen minutes, yet remained active and ambitious throughout. Although very dangerous with his punches, jiu-jitsu remains Nelson's speciality and a black belt from Renzo Gracie retains pride of place in his long list of achievements. “Renzo and the whole Gracie family have influenced the entire UFC through jiu-jitsu,” says Nelson. “For anybody that does any type of grappling, Renzo and his family have definitely influenced them in some type of way, shape or form. So, for me to say I have a black-belt from a Gracie, especially from Renzo, who is like a living legend in our sport, it is a real honour.” Content to fight Mir on both the ground and in a striking confrontation, Nelson is simply happy to be back doing what he does best. Inactive through injury since that August defeat to Dos Santos, Nelson is back with a vengeance and intent on once again climbing the heavyweight ladder. “A week after my knee surgery I was supposed to fight Shane Carwin,” adds Nelson, “so the only thing different about this camp is that it's been almost like a ten month camp, as opposed to the normal six weeks. Its been like groundhog day for the last ten months - just training and training and training.”