The Ultimate Fighter 16 Results: 5 Fights for Roy Nelson to Take Next
Roy Nelson didn't get the chance to prove a fat guy could go five rounds, but he did show that a fat guy has serious knockout power.
At The Ultimate Fighter 16 finale, Nelson dropped Matt Mitrione with a hard one-two combination and finished the fight with a barrage of unanswered ground strikes at 2:58 of the first round.
"I was looking to pick him apart in the second and third and show all the critics that a fat boy can go five rounds," Nelson told UFC commentator Joe Rogan after the fight. "God blessed me with [knockout power]. I used to submit everybody, but when I got my first knockout, I was like, 'This is so much easier than this wrestling and jiu-jitsu stuff.'"
If the Mitrione bout is any indication, Nelson may never go five rounds. He packs enough power to put any careless heavyweight's lights out.
The problem for Nelson lies in his ability to win against upper-echelon opposition. Nelson is good at striking, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling, but he isn't particularly great at any aspect. He is a rugged, well-rounded fighter with a wealth of experience.
Unfortunately, good won't cut it against world-class fighters in the heavyweight division. Can Nelson find a way to make the necessary adjustments to finally get over the hump?
The heavyweight division is as deep as it's ever been. Nelson will get a chance to prove to the world that he is a much-improved fighter and a potential contender.
Here are five fights for him to take next.
Stipe Miocic wasn't able to live up to the tall order of defeating Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve.
The 30-year-old Croatian wilted in the standup exchanges in the second round of a back-and-forth battle that earned "Fight of the Night" honors.
With most of the top heavyweights already tied up, Miocic vs. Nelson would be a fun fight to hold over fans until the division opens up better marquee matchups.
Pat Barry got a new highlight-reel knockout to go along with his new body at The Ultimate Fighter 16 finale.
After a rough first round, Barry's improved conditioning helped him rebound with a vicious knockout over talented Muay Thai artist Shane Del Rosario.
Like Stipe Miocic, a fight against Nelson would be more of a treat to fans until the busy heavyweight division frees up.
If Travis Browne is healthy, a fight against Nelson makes sense.
Browne was recently defeated by Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva at UFC on FX 5 after suffering a freak knee injury during the fight.
Most pundits still have Browne listed as a top-10 heavyweight.
If Nelson truly is focused on moving up the heavyweight ladder, Browne should be the next fighter on his radar.
Cheick Kongo and Nelson have fought just about everyone in the heavyweight division but each other.
The two heavyweight stars were scheduled to fight back in July 2010 at UFC 116, but an injury sustained in training forced Kongo to back out of the bout.
Kongo has been waiting around for an opponent after his lopsided unanimous decision win over Shawn Jordan at UFC 149.
Could Nelson be that guy?
If Nelson could choose any fight on this list, he would likely select a shot at former UFC heavyweight champ Josh Barnett.
With Strikeforce set to close its doors in January, Barnett is slated to compete at the final event against Nandor Guelmino.
There is talk about Barnett possibly returning to the UFC after his final Strikeforce bout. If he defeats Guelmino and walks away injury-free, he could face Nelson in his return.