by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
It was no shocker that “Big Country” Roy Nelson made his way to “The Ultimate Fighter” finale being one of the odds on favorites to win the show stepping into the house on day one. But he had to battle through tough opponents, perceptions about his body, and UFC president Dana White not exactly being his biggest cheerleader.
Through it all, Nelson racked up three wins and now faces Brendan Schaub in The Ultimate Fighter season 10 finale on Saturday night. While Nelson definitely had the credentials to be in the UFC regardless of the reality show, he says he’s happy with the choices he made.
“I was thinking it was a good business opportunity,” Nelson told MMAWeekly.com about why he did the show. “Going The Ultimate Fighter route is equivalent to fighting about five times on pay-per-view on a regular UFC, so it’s just like advertising and marketing. People see your face three times then they actually know it. It’s one of those things where I just wanted to make sure millions of people would know exactly who I am.”
Millions of people tuned in to watch, including some of the highest ratings ever when he faced Kimbo Slice in his first fight on the show. Along the way though, White made no bones that Nelson wasn’t his favorite fighter in the house, but Nelson thinks he turned things around a little bit with his last performance.
“My third fight with (James) McSweeney, it’s the same crucifix position that I got on Kimbo and Dana actually gives me my props afterwards,” Nelson commented. “It’s just the fact, this time I did the same thing I wanted, and this time McSweeney’s face is covered in blood.”
To get to the final goal of winning the competition, he has to go through former Team Rashad teammate Brendan Schaub, who was a friend and great training partner during their time in the house.
“In the house I helped Brendan out quite a bit,” said Nelson. “Brendan’s a tough guy. He has great hands. He’s definitely an athlete, definitely the younger of the bucks. He doesn’t get rattled.”
That mental toughness is one of his biggest attributes according to Nelson, who says despite Schaub’s pro record only sitting at four fights, he shows maturity beyond his years.
“He was kind of like Fedor where he might get in bad positions, but if you give him that little hole he’s going to capitalize on it, and make you pay,” he stated. “He did it with Jon Madsen, he even did it with Marcus Jones, and he even did it with Demico. So you see Brendan, he’ll take a bad position to scramble out and capitalize on your mistakes.”
While Nelson has nothing but respect for Schaub, it’s his former teammate that stands in his way of the goal he started so many months ago: to win The Ultimate Fighter and earn his way into the UFC.
“My goals, hopefully I achieve them, and while I was in the house I did exactly what I wanted, hurry up and get three wins and then hopefully this Saturday I’ll get my fourth and will become The Ultimate Fighter,” said Nelson.
Roy Nelson takes on Brendan Schaub for The Ultimate Fighter season 10 championship this Saturday night in Las Vegas.