Roy Nelson (above) says he won’t play Frank Mir’s game come Saturday. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Roy Nelson knows he can’t sit back and let Frank Mir pick him apart when they meet Saturday at UFC 130.
“I think Frank wants to pretty much fight his pace,” Nelson said recently during a “Savage Dog Show” interview on the Sherdog Radio Network. “As long as you fight his pace, I think he can be more of a sniper and pinpoint his striking. Then if it gets down to the ground, then it’s one of those things: As long as you play his pace, I think it’s definitely a fight that you play right into Frank’s hands.”
Some may think Nelson has the advantage on the mat considering that he beat Mir on points once in a grappling match. However, Nelson dismisses that long-ago encounter.
“That was, I don’t know, like nine years ago?” he said. “It’s kind of irrelevant now. It happened nine years ago and then I think right after that tournament, Frank became the UFC champion.”
In fact, Nelson was quite complimentary of his upcoming opponent. He called Mir a “living legend” and disagreed with critics who have suggested Mir’s best days are behind him. “Big Country” believes a win over the former champion positions him right back in the title mix.
“With Brock [Lesnar] getting pulled out, it definitely puts me right there,” Nelson said, “especially after what Junior [dos Santos] is going to probably do to Shane Carwin.”
Nelson is familiar with dos Santos’ ability. His last bout was a unanimous decision defeat to the Brazilian in August 2010. Although Nelson was praised for his toughness in the fight, some questioned if losing weight would make him a better fighter. Could a cut to, say, 240 pounds improve his cardio?
“Not really,” Nelson answered. “I think usually when someone’s hitting you, that’s usually when you get tired. I think with the Junior dos Santos fight, if anybody rewatched it, there’s a lot of leather being thrown. That’s a high-paced, fast heavyweight fight compared to most heavyweight fights that usually end in the first round. ... The fact that we kept it going -- we pushed probably harder than, I’d say, a lot of lighter weights.”
So don’t expect Nelson to have altered his physique much for his bout with Mir. He hasn’t hired a personal chef, started a supplement routine or anything else.
“My edge is usually just if I’m the better fighter,” he said. “I like to do what God gave you and go, ‘Let’s see if I’m the man.’”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:04:45).