Top 10 ranked heavyweight Roy Nelson faces No. 2 ranked Daniel Cormier in the UFC 166: Velasquez vs. dos Santos 3 co-main event on Oct. 19. If he defeats the undefeated Cormier, Nelson expects to be in line for a title shot.
“DC is top of the food chain. The only other person that’s before him is dos Santos and dos Santos is already fighting for the belt. So I look at DC as a guy to beat and you get the belt shot,” Nelson recently told MMA’s Great Debate podcast. “If I can beat DC, I’m fighting for the belt next.”
Nelson is coming off of a loss in his last outing. He accepted a short-notice fight against Stipe Miocic at UFC 161 and was soundly defeated by unanimous decision. The fight was the last on Nelson’s previous contract, but he has no regrets about the way it’s played out.
“Everything worked out. I’m in the UFC. I’m fighting the No. 2 guy in the world. Everything works,” said Nelson.
The Las Vegas native recently inked a new nine-fight deal with the promotion with the goal of fighting for the championship.
“There’s not too many people that can get a nine-fight deal out of the UFC. I’m a staple in the UFC, and they know the type of fans that I bring and what kind of entertainment value that I have for the UFC,” he said.
“It ended up working out in my favor. I’m fighting my last fight. I got more money, and now I get a chance to fight for the belt. That’s basically my goal,” added Nelson. “I’ve got my goals and the UFC helped me and we laid it out, the best way to accomplish my goals. As long as they can make money off me, they don’t really care.”
UFC 166 is headlined by the heavyweight title fight between champion Cain Velasquez and former titleholder Junior dos Santos. Dos Santos holds a win over Nelson, but the 37-year-old feels he has unfinished business with the Velasquez. According to Nelson, the two were supposed to fight in 2006, but Velasquez turned down the fight. If given the choice, Nelson would rather face Velasquez.
“Probably Cain because I’ve already fought Junior, and I’m always about fighting everybody at least once,” he said. “I was supposed to fight Cain in my sixth fight ever in MMA and he turned that down so it’s definitely a fight that I’d like to fight.”
If a title fight doesn’t materialize for Nelson, he’d like to get opponents that he considers legends in the heavyweight division.
“The goal is to get to the title. If I’ve got to sit back and wait for a couple of different things to fall into place, I’ll fight people that I’ve always wanted to fight, legends in the sport,” he said. “Like Big Nog (Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira).”