UFC 137 saw the debut of a not so ‘Big Country’ and the end of a legendary career.
A new and improved Roy Nelson showed off a smaller belly, better cardio and a strong performance as he put away Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 137. The fight also marked the end of Cro Cop’s legendary career in MMA.
Prior to the fight, Nelson had received a fair amount of criticism for his weight, something he’s had very little issue with in the past, but back to back losses made everyone start to look at that as the reason he wasn’t winning.
Whether Nelson agreed or not, he took it as motivation and dropped some weight, added some muscle and finally debuted his new body at UFC 137 on Saturday night.
Meanwhile a very reflective Mirko Cro Cop stated that win, lose or draw Saturday night could be his last. He left it all out in the cage in his fight with Nelson.
The two fighters exchanged some huge shots in the early going with neither gaining a clear upper hand, although Nelson did manage to snatch a takedown in the first round.
The second round saw Cro Cop unleash some of his devastating power after catching Nelson with a punch and following up with a flurry of shots. Cro Cop fired uppercuts, body shots and a bevy of punches trying to get through Nelson’s defense, but couldn’t find the one to put him away with.
Nelson showed off his new and improved cardio as he came back later in the round and trapped Cro Cop in a crucifix and almost got a finish as he unloaded several unanswered shots. Cro Cop survived, but only for a few more minutes.
Nelson clipped Cro Cop in the third round and once he got the fight on the mat, he absolutely unloaded with sledgehammer like shots as he took the Croatian’s back. The power punches were not forgiving and the referee had seen enough and stepped in to stop the punishment.
A happy Roy Nelson still took time to thank his legendary opponent for stepping into the Octagon with him on Saturday night.
“Everybody give it up for Cro Cop, he’s given us in MMA as a fighter, as a fan, so much.” Nelson said. “It was awesome to compete with a legend.”
Never one to hold his tongue, Nelson took the chance to grab UFC commentator Joe Rogan’s microphone and make a challenge of his own after the fight.
“I guess I’m going to do a Chael Sonnen right now, I’m supposed to call out somebody,” Nelson stated. “Who’s fighting in a couple weeks? I think Junior (Dos Santos) and (Cain) Velasquez. I want the championship, I’m getting too old for this (expletive) so I kind of want to hurry this (expletive) up. So that’s who I want.”
It wasn’t the way that Mirko Cro Cop wanted his career to end, but following the loss to Nelson, the former Pride Grand Prix champion said his final goodbyes.
“I told before this fight this was going to be my farewell fight. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it. I wanted to say goodbye with a victory, but Roy was just better tonight. Congratulations,” said Cro Cop.
While it’s unlike Nelson will get a championship bout next, he does get to move back up in the heavyweight rankings after erasing those back to back losses. As for Mirko Cro Cop, he will always be remembered as a legend in the sport with possibly the most singularly devastating weapon in the history of MMA.