The Reinvention of Roy Nelson

Big Country

Big Country talks diets, transformation and being a pro

Throughout his entire career, Roy Nelson has dealt with commentary about his weight. Nelson’s physique has been the cause of both scorn and praise from fans and media alike. After winning Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” he became a fan favorite in the heavyweight division and after back to back knockouts of Brendan Schaub and Stefan Struve, Nelson was poised for contention.

His momentum continued to build despite dropping a decision to number one contender Junior Dos Santos at UFC 117. But when he stepped in to face Frank Mir at UFC 130, Nelson was out wrestled by the former champion and was handed to his second consecutive loss.

The bout was a turning point for Nelson. After the fight he decided to take the opportunity and make some much-needed changes. Recently his teammate Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy noted that Nelson had begun something of a transformation, but for Nelson the adjustments are more than physical or mental.

In Milwaukee this weekend to corner Hardy, a noticeably stronger Nelson spoke to Heavy MMA about the rumors, changes and the future. In typical Roy Nelson fashion, his sense of humor was also present for the interview.

“I’m not slimmer. I’m just buff,” Nelson joked before settling into the questions. “I’m trying to bring the martial arts mentality into mixed martial arts. Martial arts are a blend of mind, body and spirit and now I’m looking to bring the professional aspect of the sport in association with the sport, entertainment and business side of MMA. There has to be a balance in what we do and I’m looking to find that.”

“There are so many different aspects to being professional in this business. I’ve always been just a guy that shows up and fights with all my heart. Plain and simple, I’ve always been a fighter. Now I’m making strides to bring the same passion I’ve always brought to the cage and do the same as a professional in this sport.”

A buzz has been stirring around the MMA world that Nelson has altered his dietary regimen and has made some big changes that will affect his career path. While Nelson admits he is doing some things differently, he wanted to make it clear that it doesn’t matter what he is doing…it will be done his way.

“I don’t want to call it a diet program I’m working on. I think it is more of a lifestyle change, so I’ll call it my new coaching program. Diet is the wrong word because if you look at the first three letters of the word it spells “die” and that’s what it feels like.”

“I’m also starting to realize more about the “Big Country” brand. I learned that from my former Coach and mentor Rashad Evans. He’s the number one light heavyweight in the world. Why wouldn’t you want him to be your mentor? I have a new fur coat line that is coming out. I’m looking at breaking into the beer or alcohol industry. There is a lot of money out there to be made in the “healthy” beer category and I’m looking to develop a beer that makes you thinner when you drink it. This beer will be 51 calories and tastes like Everclear, party like 10 shots of Tequila but its only 51 calories.”

There has also been talk about a potential drop down to the light heavyweight division for Nelson. While he had previously dispelled those rumors by jumping on the official scale that Dan Hardy just made weight on – Roy weighed 258 pounds – he admits he has lost 2 pounds from his UFC 130 fight back in May. He wanted to share his true feelings on the matter with the fans and media.

“I’m going to make 205 someday. Mark my words I will at some point be 205 lb. I might be dead, get old and lose some muscle mass or in a car accident where I lose one of my legs but I will hit that weight somewhere along the line. I can guarantee that I will reach that weight but it may come under some drastic circumstances.

“I like the fact that people are talking about me “supposedly” losing weight because it means that people care about me. That means that people love me and who doesn’t want to feel that from the fans? I will say if I do lose weight then it will be on my terms and from a program that I’m responsible for developing or develop.”

“ I’ve always done things my own way and have found success on my own terms. If I were to go down that path it will be from my own doing. I have over 24 years of experience being a coach and an athlete and I have no problem applying the things I’ve learned to make me a better fighter, entertainer, and businessman.”

Despite Nelson’s humorous approach to the situation at hand, there is a fire that has been lit in the former TUF winner. With an October meeting set with Pride legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Nelson has the opportunity to change the course of his career and get back on track.