Roy Nelson is the only man to have shared the Octagon with both UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic, and “Big Country” knows who he’s betting on at UFC 226 Saturday night.
The former UFC heavyweight currently competes for Bellator, but he spent three rounds apiece with both Cormier and Miocic at UFC 161 and UFC 166, respectively. “Big Country” spoke exclusively with Sherdog.com on Friday to break down the biggest superfight of the year:
“These are two guys who are definitely “game-plan” fighters. It will be very interesting to see which game plan wins,” Nelson told Sherdog.com. “DC has had problems when he’s overworked. Jones outworked him both times and didn’t give him space to get his game plan going.”
“Stipe fights more like ‘tag-and-go.’ But we haven’t seen [him] fight a wrestler yet. Stipe is used to fighting people with the height and reach of a real heavyweight. Cormier is none of that. He’s also fought a jiu-jitsu guy [in Werdum], and strikers [in Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem]. He really never fights wrestlers. That’s gonna work against him, in my opinion.”
Nelson lost a unanimous decision to Miocic at UFC 161 in 2013 in the heavyweight champion’s fourth promotional appearance. Miocic was coming off the first loss in his professional career, a second-round TKO at the hands of Stefan Struve. Miocic would lose only once more — to Junior Dos Santos — before winning the heavyweight title against former champion Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198 in 2016.
“Big Country” later dropped another decision loss to “DC” in Cormier’s second Octagon appearance at UFC 166, just four months after the loss to Miocic. The win over Nelson would ultimately be Cormier’s last fight at heavyweight before dropping down to 205 pounds, where he captured UFC gold at UFC 187.
Having gone six rounds in a row against two of the most dangerous champions in the UFC, “Big Country” knows who he’s betting on to win at UFC 226 on Saturday night:
“If I’m betting, my money is on DC. DC will come in with the better game plan and walk away heavyweight champ,” he said.