Nelson: ‘I Hit My Home Run’

By Brian Knapp Oct 2, 2009
Former International Fight League heavyweight champion Roy Nelson “called his shot” when he ousted Internet street-fighting legend Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson on the latest episode of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10. Consider it his ode to the Sultan of Swat.

“I called it the night before,” Nelson said during a Thursday teleconference. “I just wanted to point out to the guys that this was how I was going to win. And guess what? That’s how I won. I did a Babe Ruth. I hit my home run.”

Pegged as the Season 10 favorite by many pundits, Nelson strapped Slice in a crucifix and finished him with strikes on the ground in the second round of their heavyweight scrap, which aired to record ratings on Spike TV. According to preliminary figures, the episode drew 5.3 million viewers and peaked with 6.1 million during the actual fight.

Nelson, known as much for his rotund midsection as his underrated skills, was met with criticism from UFC President Dana White in the aftermath of his victory. The portly former IFL titleholder put his showmanship skills on display when he asked for a Whopper with cheese after defeating Slice.

“For the most part, with me, it’s real simple,” Nelson said. “Dana spent the last nine seasons saying just go in there, take as little damage as possible and win the fight. I couldn’t have done it any better.”

Nelson, who roomed with Slice during the show, used the matchup as a platform on which to spread his name to an audience that might still be unfamiliar with him.

“I knew it was a good business decision to go this route and basically introduce myself to the UFC fans,” he said. “As far as fighting goes, it was just another day at the office.”

Slice -- who still has not had an official fight since Seth Petruzelli stopped him in just 14 seconds at an EliteXC event a year ago -- landed a few noteworthy blows but never had Nelson in any significant danger. The bearded Bahamian-born brawler looked like the proverbial fish out of water once he left his feet.

“He hits hard, but he’s not the hardest guy I’ve ever been hit by,” Nelson said. “I did exactly what I wanted to do and baited him in where I could get to the clinch and just take him down.”

Nelson believes Slice might enjoy more success with a move down to 205 pounds, where he would not face such enormous weight discrepancies. Nelson outweighed him by more than 30 pounds. Though he claims to harbor no ill will toward Slice -- he has invited him to train in Las Vegas -- Nelson threw a shot of sarcasm in his direction, as he poked fun at the notoriety he gained, first as a street-fighter and ultimately as an EliteXC headliner on CBS.

“Kimbo bringing a whole new audience is good,” Nelson said. “I can’t wait till Tom Cruise gets into it.”
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