by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
When the upcoming Affliction show took an abrupt turn into postponement, many of the fighters were left scrambling for a chance to compete on other cards. Roy Nelson found himself with the biggest opportunity of his career on just over a week’s notice.
When EliteXC came calling to promote a fight between Nelson and former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight kingpin Andrei Arlovski, the first and only International Fight League champion was quick to accept.
“For me, it’s a great opportunity,” Nelson commented about his upcoming fight. “Just out of the pure fact that it’s on CBS, I’m fighting Andrei, one of the best heavyweights in the world besides Fedor (Emelianenko) and Minotauro, so for me it’s a good stage. And then after the fight everybody will know who Roy Nelson is.”
What Nelson could be after his fight with Arlovski is an “every man’s” fighter that the average fan can relate to. The Las Vegas native has never been shy about the fact that he doesn’t have the prototypical fighter body, but when the wins keep racking up, who can argue?
“Everybody just thinks I’m that fat guy that just strikes with people and I just want to be able to show everybody that you can go out there and do it just as much as I am,” Nelson said. “It’s all about putting your heart and dedication in and putting your time in.”
Coming into the fight, the last IFL champion says that he watched Arlovski’s last bout with Ben Rothwell, a common opponent between the two, but understands that styles make match-ups and that wasn’t ideal for Rothwell.
“Actually, watching that fight you see a lot of different things,” Nelson stated about the fight between Arlovski and Rothwell. “The thing is me and Ben (Rothwell) are completely two different fighters. He’s a stand-up guy, everybody thinks I’m a stand-up guy, but I’m a grappler. I have an advantage there.
“You watch the fight in the first four minutes, Ben’s actually winning the fight. And then the last minute he gets hit and Ben starts to shut down.”
That shutdown coast Rothwell, but Nelson is confident that his training will get him past Arlovski and set up some very big fights in the future as well.
He still plans on being a part of the next Affliction card slated for January, but his sole focus right now is picking Arlovski apart in the next few days as he prepares for their Saturday night showdown.
“Big Country” isn’t sweating the step up in competition… he flat out welcomes it.
“The whole reason I got into the business is to fight the best,” said Nelson. “That’s the reason I was training with the best guys in the world, and then I felt like I was beating them up in the gym, so I figured what the heck let’s throw my hat in the ring.”