Roy Nelson’s status with the UFC is up in the air. The 19-8 heavyweight recently closed out his contract with the promotion, losing via unanimous decision to Stipe Miocic at UFC 161.
Losing that fight did not put Nelson in the driver’s seat when it came to negotiating a new deal with the promotion, but if the words and tone of UFC president Dana White are indicative of anything, don’t be surprised to see Nelson back with the UFC.
One of the final questions White was asked during his media scrum on Thursday concerned Nelson and what White thought about Nelson fighting outside of his “natural weight class.”
White replied, “The guy’s on a 12-fight winning streak by knockout. He's a heavyweight. He's a heavy, heavyweight. My thing is not as much fighting out of his weight class, but if he took himself seriously and got in great shape, what would Roy Nelson be able to accomplish?”
The loss to Miocic dropped Nelson from the fifth-ranked heavyweight in the UFC to the seventh-ranked heavyweight. White’s opinion is that if Nelson did get in better shape, he could possibly get over that hump and compete with the best in the division: “Maybe he would get over that No. 4 or 5 hump in the rankings. When you get to the top four guys in the world, you're dealing with the four nastiest dudes.”
The UFC president then ran down the attributes that make Nelson a threat, “He's a great wrestler, he's got heavy hands, and he's got an unbelievable f****** chin, and great jiu-jitsu.”
In closing, White continued to praise Nelson but couldn’t resist getting one jab in on the fighter that he has had his share of battles with in the past. “He's as well-rounded as you can get, and he's as well-rounded as you can get.”
*All quotes were obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report.