by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Knocking out Brendan Schaub and Stefan Struve back-to-back gives Roy Nelson a lot of options for his next fight in the Octagon.
The winner of “The Ultimate Fighter Season 10” has proven to just about everybody that not only does he belong in the UFC, but he can hang with the other big boys in the heavyweight division. The Las Vegas based fighter is ready to face any top competitor the UFC gives him next.
Never one to call out for any particular names, Nelson says with the competition in the heavyweight division right now there won’t be any easy fights.
“I don’t really make those choices,” Nelson told MMAWeekly Radio about his next opponent. “I was saying I’d rather be fighting for the belt and be done with it. It’s the UFC and there’s so many great guys, there’s so many great fights to match up with.”
One name that has been tossed around for a potential opponent is Brazilian fighter Junior Dos Santos, who currently sits undefeated in the UFC, and just recently knocked out former top contender Gabriel Gonzaga. Nelson says he’d welcome a match with Dos Santos. In fact, Nelson believes Dos Santos is closer in line for the title than anybody else.
“I’d love it,” Nelson said about a fight with the Brazilian knockout artist. “I think Dos Santos deserves (a title shot) over Cain (Velasquez) just cause he’s whipped some better competition. I mean his very first fight was (Fabricio) Werdum. He’s beat up some really good guys. I think he definitely deserves a good chance or a good stab at it.”
Of course another name that has been mentioned time and again for Nelson is debuting former world boxing champion James Toney, who signed with the UFC recently and still hasn’t been given a timeline for his first fight.
While it may not get him a title shot, Nelson admits that fighting Toney comes with a certain star power, and that’s what that fight would be all about.
“It would be bigger for PR,” said Nelson. “Technically we’re just playing for PR, we’re not fighting for money, we’re fighting for PR. So then I guess James Toney would be the better fight.”
Beyond the top two heavyweights in the division, who will go to battle on July 3 in Las Vegas, Nelson knows there are a lot of tough tests out there for him.
He welcomes the challenge.
“I know I won’t get Shane (Carwin) or Brock (Lesnar), they’re supposed to be fighting in July. Cheick Kongo is just coming off his win over Paul Buentello, so he’s out in the wind. Then you’ve got Dos Santos, he’s still out in the wind. You’ve got Velasquez still out in the wind,” said Nelson.
Whoever is next for the “Round Mound of Knockout” shouldn’t underestimate Nelson, who has proven that he not only belongs in the UFC, but he will knock you out if you give him the slightest opening.