by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Roy Nelson will make his return to the ring on Saturday night when he will take on Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Jeff Monson in a boxing/MMA hybrid show run by Square Ring Promotions.
Nelson was last seen in EliteXC’s “Heat” on CBS when he took on the former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski. Nelson wasn’t doing too bad against the former champion, but succumbed to Arlovski’s power in the second round.
MMAWeekly Radio caught up with Nelson recently to discuss his return and preparation for his upcoming fight with Monson. “Pretty much just the same old stuff,” he replied when asked what he’s been up to. “Just healing up, putting training in and getting better.”
This upcoming promotion will be MMA’s first hybrid event that will garner a decent amount of attention. The fact that one of the most well known fighters of all time, Roy Jones, Jr., will be competing is sure to catch the eyes of many people. Nelson feels that with the recognition that Jones will bring, that this event will do well among all fight fans. “I think it’s going to do pretty well,” commented Nelson. ” Roy Jones, Jr. is a legend on the card for boxing. You want to watch it. I think there’s something for everybody on this card. Then myself and Jeff are top good heavyweights in the world that aren’t with the UFC or Elite or with Affliction.”
After this event, Nelson is looking to find a home with an organization that is willing to promote the sport as well as himself. While he fought during Affliction’s co-promotion with EliteXC, he never really had much more interest in fighting with them after the Arlovski fight.
“The only time that I even tried mentioning anything was if Josh Barnett couldn’t get an opponent if Gilbert (Yvel) couldn’t get qualified, then I’d fight Josh. As for an organization, the UFC is the card that you’re looking to get on or even Scott Coker’s Strikeforce. I’d love to work with Scott. Of course, I’d love working with the UFC,” he relayed. “I just want to be with an organization that wants to be with me and promote me and promote the sport to its fullest. My goal is to actually feed my family, pay the mortgage. Ultimately the two big games in town are Strikeforce and the UFC. The UFC is the ultimate where everybody recognizes it, but Strikeforce which is turning into more and more mainstream may have a big year this year.”
Before he can get to another organization, Nelson is concerned with the task at hand, and that’s Jeff Monson. Nelson and Monson are both excellent grapplers who have a wealth of experience against some very tough competitors. When you have two excellent grapplers squaring off, it often becomes a boxing match. Nelson recognizes this, but also realizes that if it goes to the ground, he may or may not be in the best position depending on the nature of the takedown.
“Usually you’re correct that when you have two great grapplers on the ground that it usually ends up being a stand-up battle, which is what the fans love,” he commented, before adding, “But if it hits the ground, it all depends on how you feel and what position because it’s a lot of work.”
If the fight does end up on the feet, “Big Country” believes he should have the advantage, however he doesn’t take anything for granted.
“I think there is definitely an advantage on my feet over Jeff, so I think that’s a possibility to always keep it standing,” replied Nelson. “It all depends on if Jeff hits me hard and I’m like ‘wow, I can’t believe he packs a punch like that,’ we might be going to the ground real fast. It all depends on the situation. I hope I have the advantage. I have a little bit longer reach than he does, so there are some assets that I can help exploit in my fight with me and Jeff.”
They say that a fighter learns more from a loss than he ever does from a win. Nelson did indeed learn from his last fight and he plans to take his newfound knowledge into this one. “For the Arlovski fight, I learned so much about politics, how if an organization wants a fighter to win, they’ll do everything in their power to make that happen, which is walking that fine line. And basically, if you have a game plan, just stick with it. With Arlovski, I started to lose my head and I just started swinging for the fences and see if I can knock him out instead of staying with my game plan and box him.”