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Exclusive: Roy Nelson Talks Arlovski Fight, Being “the Fat Guy,” and More

Former IFL heavyweight champion Roy Nelson went from having a fight with Paul Buentello in Affliction, to having that fight cancelled, to signing a deal to face Andrei Arlovski on CBS, all in a matter of weeks. Now “Big Country” talks about the unpredictable nature of the fight game, who’s signing his paychecks, and more in this exclusive CagePotato interview. Thanks for talking with me, Roy. I imagine it’s been an exciting week for you. When did you first hear about this offer?

Wednesday morning.

Really? That late?

Yeah. I got the news about three hours before Sherdog did. Talk about the last minute.

So what was going through your mind when they offered it to you?

You know, to fight Andrei is a big step in my career, so of course I was game. And what better stage than CBS, where you’ll get maybe 8 million viewers watching. Of course that’s something that I wanted to do.

Were you still training even after they called the Oct. 11 event off?

I’m one of these guys who’s pretty 9-5 about my training most of the time, so I was still in the gym. Maybe it wasn’t pedal-to-the-metal, full throttle training, but it wasn’t like I had taken a lot of time off. I backed off a little when I found out I wouldn’t’ be fighting Buentello, but not too much. So I’m ready to step in there and fight Andrei.

It seems like this short notice doesn’t give you much time to get together a game plan and prepare specifically for Arlovski.

The biggest thing in a fight is to impose your will. It’s not so much about having a specific game plan as just going out and doing what you want to do. It doesn’t matter who it is, just as long as you’re better at what you do and you do that. It’s like playing an arcade game. Like, he doesn’t have all the grappling skills so I’ll try and make it more about grappling. Or he doesn’t do this well so I’ll do that. That part of it is the same for any fight.

A lot of people seem to be overlooking you in this fight, like they’re ready to just give Arlovski the victory.

Yeah, I’m the sleeper. I’m the fat guy. But it’s all good. For my whole career I’ve been the underdog. People always say that about me until they’ve seen me fight.

Affliction said the winner could face Fedor. Is that a motivation for you and is that a fight you’d want if you win this?

Definitely. That’s what I’ve been talking about doing since I was in the IFL. I see it as one more step towards that. I know this is going to be my toughest fight, until my next fight, which will probably be tougher. But I’m ready for that.

Since you fought Ben Rothwell and Arlovski just beat him, does it help for you to look at what Arlovski did in that fight since you know what Rothwell has?

It helps, but Ben and I are two different fighters. He’s a striker and I’m a grappler. With Ben, I beat him at his own game. The difference between us is that Ben doesn’t really go for takedowns. I still go for takedowns and I’m a good grappler, but with me you also have to worry about getting knocked out.

Does that mean you think you’re going to beat Arlovski with your grappling?

I don’t know. I mean, if it was a pure grappling match, yeah I think my grappling is better than his. But getting punched in the face changes all that. I’m not relying on that. I think I can also strike with top guys.

All these changes in plans, going from one organization to another, from no fight to a big fight on network TV, does it seem like an emotional rollercoaster right now?

All I can say is, that’s the fight game. You never know what can happen. I mean, right now you got Brock Lesnar fighting for the title against Randy Couture. And that didn’t seem to make any sense. I’m going, isn’t there another heavyweight champ named Minotauro Nogueira? But hey, that’s the way this sport works. You never know what will happen so you have to be prepared for anything.

Is this a lot of added pressure for you to be fighting on CBS against a tougher, more well-known opponent?

It’s really not added pressure for me so much as it is for Andrei. He’s never really fought on this kind of big stage on network TV, so we’re both stepping up. Yeah, it’s a little stressful, but no more stressful than the normal fight stress. You’re still worried about the same things. Where the fight is broadcast and for what organization doesn’t matter that much.

This is an Elite XC event, but you’re an Affliction fighter competing through an Affliction co-promotion. So who’s paying you? Is it Affliction, and are they paying you the same as what you were supposed to get for the Buentello bout?

I honestly couldn’t tell you right now. I don’t handle all the financial stuff. I can tell you after the fight when I get my check and I can see who’s signed it, but right now I don’t know.

Well I look forward to hearing about it after the fight. Anything else you want to add?

Just make sure to watch the fight on CBS, October 4. That, and check out for all the latest news at the same time you guys get it.

Cagepotato Comments

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ORACLE- September 30, 2008 at 2:27 pm



Bill C.- September 27, 2008 at 2:55 pm
Arlovski will definitely win, but I think Big Country's going to put up a better fight than Rothwell did a couple months ago.
Chubbs does BJJ- September 27, 2008 at 3:22 am
ok. arlovski is def the one expected to win. but only because big country was in a crap organization and didnt get alot of publicity. ive been big country fight twice and he just pummled the opponent. i dont think i saw him go for one takedown. so i dont know know how his grappleing is but he claims it to be nice. and arlovski sprawls like a bastard and has some speed on nelson. it shouldnt be a bad fight.

dont sleep on big countries speed or conditioning. thats all im saying.
Anonymous- September 26, 2008 at 6:29 pm
Dont UnderEstimate the power of Pee Pee Pee... I dont know what makes you guys think Arlovski isn't skilled enough to beat Big Country
MMA FAN- September 26, 2008 at 2:31 pm
roy nelson will get beaten by andrei round 3, his ground game wont be enough.
Turd Ferguson- September 26, 2008 at 1:34 pm
...roy doesn't stand a chance against andre.

and shame on you people for thinking otherwise.
shutupandfight- September 26, 2008 at 11:46 am
Nelson beat the shit out of Rothwell...just couldn't finish him.
MGillis- September 26, 2008 at 9:27 am
"Kim Couture is a cunt" LOL, what a name! just blatant and blunt. hahah. MMA fans are always so entertaining.
Ren Bothwell- September 26, 2008 at 3:07 am
LukeTheDuke- September 25, 2008 at 11:00 pm
Roy Nelson....more like Roy Who? ("Hasn't fought on network TV before") Yea but Roy, you were part of the IFL remember? Need I say more? Whys he looking so far past Arlovski....mainly underestimating the grappling skills of a national sambo champion.
walrus- September 25, 2008 at 8:27 pm
There's a chance Roy can take Andre.

But Roy Nelson vs. Fedor -- jesus christ on a cracker, he'll get annihilated. I think Andre would too though.
theKnappyOne- September 25, 2008 at 8:06 pm
Ridiculous. Andrei is going to pummel the fat fuck.. what has this guy really done? You guys are on crack.. where do you get off saying the dude would be Fedor? I don't care how well the guy can grapple.. Appalled.
FOFF- September 25, 2008 at 7:55 pm
Your completly right. He probably can't act for shit. Witch is why Mr. T won all those emmy's for his portrayal og B. A.
JesseL- September 25, 2008 at 7:36 pm

You obviously never saw the midnight meat train!
C-Bus Allstar- September 25, 2008 at 7:33 pm
I think Big Country could take Arlovski, that much for sure. Arlovski's crazy strong, has decent strikes, decent submissions, but Nelson has that "Oh I'm a Fat guy and I'm slow" look to him, and I think Arlovski (Who is in love with his own body) is going to underestimate Nelson. I have a feeling this is going to end via TKO for the winner Big Country in the first round.
lol- September 25, 2008 at 6:59 pm
@ skidding.

rampage is to much of a goofball to be B.A. Baracus, yeah he looks like him and all but im preety sure he cant act worth a shit.
mmapr0- September 25, 2008 at 6:45 pm
good thing this fat boy likes to eat, cause hes going to have a mouthful of leather. pitbull by tko rd 1
Kim Couture is a cunt- September 25, 2008 at 6:27 pm
Love to see Roy beat the shit out of Arlovski.
Scott- September 25, 2008 at 6:24 pm
Nelson may be an accomplished grappler, but I think he's severely under-estimating Arlovski's ground-game if he thinks he can beat him in a grappling match. I can see Arlovski easily subbing Nelson if he wants to...and he did mention after the Rothwell fight that he wants to showcase his jiu-jitsu more often.
GDog- September 25, 2008 at 5:28 pm
"Ben Rothwell, Silverbacks, def. Roy Nelson, Lions, via decision (split), after 3 rounds" from .
But I saw the fight and think Roy actually won.
Sodak- September 25, 2008 at 5:21 pm
Ben won the fight but it could of gone either way, many thought (and obviously Roy) that big country won, i can't really remember the fight but i think i thought roy won too, anyway if roy gets it to the ground and puts that weight on arlovski i think he has a chance and theres always the haymaker hopefully its a good fight.
P.S. Roy you don't want fedor, seriosly roy!? fat guys are usually funny i hope that was a joke
KP- September 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm
I don't think Roy has the speed or the cardio to hang with Arlovski, the only close round is going to be the first...otherwise I see it being a pretty one sided affair.
Sideshow- September 25, 2008 at 5:05 pm
Don't sleep on Big Country. He has a shot.
Mark- September 25, 2008 at 5:04 pm
I am fairly certain that if Roy says he beat Ben he probably did, but according to sherdog, Ben beat Roy...whats the deal?
skidding- September 25, 2008 at 5:00 pm
I have Nelson as a favorite to win this fight, and defeat Fedor via split decision. He reminds me of Rulon Gardner... and how he broke my heart when he edged out Karelin.

Hidden underneath that big belly is an insane amount of core-body strength. If middle school taught me anything, it was to never pick a fight with the fat kid who can run the mile in under 7 minutes.