September 13, 2009

by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com

As “The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights” gets ready to hit the airwaves, MMAWeekly Radio is proud to welcome Roy “Big Country” Nelson to the show each week as a special correspondent to help break down the show and give his insights into what happened during each episode leading all the way up to the finale in December. 

It’s no surprise that Nelson is making his way to the UFC after a successful tenure in the now defunct International Fight League. That and other big fights led the Las Vegas native to being considered as one of the top heavyweight prospects in the sport. 

What may have surprised many was his choice to go the route of The Ultimate Fighter. He will have to earn his way through 15 other heavyweights trying to become the latest star to emerge from the hit reality series. 

“I think the biggest thing for myself going the route that I did take, it’s more to introduce myself to the UFC fans versus MMA fans,” Nelson told MMAWeekly.com recently.  “I wanted them to actually understand what truly is a fighter versus someone who just looks pretty.” 

In the end, Nelson believes it was the best choice to become a member of The Ultimate Fighter fraternity because of the exposure and the ability to prove himself on a national stage each and every week. 

“It’s a win-win for myself and the UFC cause there’s a stigma that comes with me that actually separates me a lot of the standard heavyweights in the UFC.  I look completely different, and I think it was a win-win for the UFC. It’s kind of like them saying, ‘look this guy’s legit,’ kind of like Kimbo going that route, no Kimbo’s legit, Roy’s legit,” Nelson commented.  “It’s more this guy actually fights.” 

Heading into the show, Nelson was by far the fighter with the most marquee experience, but he believes it didn’t put a target on his back; it actually made him the fighter to avoid during fight selection. 

“I think Kimbo was actually the target because of the popularity factor.  I don’t think anybody really wanted to fight me on the show just because if they were going to fight me they had a real good chance of losing,” stated Nelson. 

Still it can’t be ignored that the show can create superstars not necessarily based around pure fighting skills, but Nelson believes that just being himself will be enough to make him a charismatic character come show time. 

“My goal was to basically win all my fights, go in and just be myself,” said Nelson.  “I don’t have to be a knucklehead to get people to like me.  Just being me I think people will like my personality, just cause I’m like an everyday guy that just fights.” 

Nelson joins other former “TUF” stars such as Ryan Bader, Eliot Marshall, Matt Brown, Efrain Escudero, Mike Dolce, and Santino Defranco as fighters who have served as correspondents for MMAWeekly Radio.  To check out more about Roy, please visit www.RoyNelson.com, TapouT.com, and www.MMAGloryTalent.com.