Unlikely as it may seem, Mark Hunt is starring in the UFC 160 co-main event against former champion Junior dos Santos, just a step away from a title shot.
But is the promotion playing favorites?
That's what Roy Nelson told Bloody Elbow's Stephanie Daniels in a recent interview, where The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 winner talked about various aspects of his relationship with the UFC, which has definitely been "strained" at best.
Moreover, "Big Country" states that he'll "never" fight for the title due to politics, while the heavyweight title picture is so narrowly focused that UFC is betting on Hunt to lose:
I think they're business people. That's why Chael fought last month. They don't want Mark Hunt to win. They want Junior dos Santos to fight Cain Velasquez again. It just makes sense on paper. That fight can make a lot of money. When Overeem got beat by Bigfoot, that kind of messed some things up.
I make money no matter who I fight. Do I want a shot at the belt? Yes, of course I do. Put it this way, I am Barry Sanders on the Detroit Lions. You love to watch me, but you'll never see me play in the Super Bowl. It's just one of those things. It's about politics. It's not about fighting.
Nelson's UFC career has had its ups and downs both inside and outside the Octagon, but it's hard to see him denied a title shot if he keeps winning.
In the entire heavyweight roster, Nelson is one of only two fighters with at least three straight UFC wins on his record.
Will Nelson ever get a title shot?
More impressively, all three of those wins have been first-round knockout victories, two of which resulted in "Knockout of the Night" awards for Big Country.
Hunt has been just as efficient with his own career resurgence, rattling off four straight wins against Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo, Ben Rothwell and Chris Tuchscherer—not to mention two "Knockout of the Night" bonuses to boot.
However, both men may see their streaks come to a close.
While Hunt faces his toughest task yet in "JDS" this Saturday, future opposition for Nelson won't get him closer to title contention, as he's slated to fight Stipe Miocic at UFC 161, per MMA Fighting.