It was fun while it lasted and many will miss the Roy Nelson "belly" but in order for him to continue to his career in the UFC it's time for it to go to the wayside.
After 4 fights in the UFC and accumulating a .500 clip it seems Roy Nelson has been figured out to a certain point. After his first 2 fights he looked unstoppable because he leaned heavily on his punching power with both Brendan Schaub and Stefan Struve suffering a TKO or KO due to the right hand he possesses. His last two fights though the scouting of the trainers seemed to find a few holes that his opponents could exploit and rightfully did.
With his weight being the big issue I'm focusing on, the whole fat guy going into a fight and rubbing his stomach has run its course. It was a great gimmick at first having the crowd on your side and wanting others to rub your belly like the catcher from "Angels in the Outfield". But when the losses started to come so did the doubt that many didn't think the act was as funny anymore.
Now I'm not jumping on Roy Nelson because he is an exceptional athlete and is one of the toughest people that I have ever talked to. Talking to Nelson numerous times he comes off like a guy that you would meet a bar on a Friday night and just talk. His personality is unmatched to any other person in the MMA community. He won't back down from a fight and takes the mullet haircut to a whole new generation and I'm not sure you can call it a mullet anymore. He will tell you the same thing that things weren't quite right and this past fight against Frank Mir probably sent a sign to him that things need an alteration.
Frank Mir did what he had to do and that was manhandling Nelson to his breaking point. He landed some great shots, and had full control of the fight over 3 rounds and Nelson was more in the defensive mode than anything through those 15 minutes. But Mir didn't finish him and that's total credit to Nelson who handled an onslaught of knees and punches and took the fight to the end. The same thing can be said for his fight before against Junior Dos Santos who also laid some heavy punches and kicks and the result was Nelson battered and bloody.
With news Nelson also having walking pneumonia during his fight shows that MMA fighters are the cream of the crop of athletes and don't want to disappoint their fans and still want to put on a great fight for whoever is watching. But when the exhaustion started to settle in, Nelson wasn't the one looking for cheers but trying to figure out what the solution is.
The weight has always been an issue for Nelson and with his first few fights he found a way around that using his knockout power and avoiding the take-downs with the heavy lower body to stop any take-downs that are thrown at him. But with Mir he had a solid game plan going in breaking his jaw and ribs in the process, Nelson had no answer for the multiple knees and ground game he deployed. With the weight and the walking pneumonia, Nelson was running on fumes and it was noticeably visible after the fight when he had his hands on his knees trying to catch his breath.
Now many are asking for him to cut down to 205 which I think is not possible at this time in his career. Dana White mentioned during a post fight press conference that him cutting 20 to 30 pounds is more of a feasible possibility. I would love to see Nelson cut down that weight and see him really work on his core and that "gas tank" would last a lot longer. I'm sure Nelson has talked with his family about his future in the sport and knowing the personality he has he will be back and still sporting the same attitude. With him he was one of the fewest who immediately gets on a social network to gather feedback good or bad.
Right after his fight Nelson took to Twitter and responded to many fans positive and negative comments to him and was honest and open about what he thought he did wrong and was he needs to do to improve. I'm sure Roy Nelson 1.1 (as he is calling his resurgence) is addressing what is keeping him from moving up to that Championship ladder.. I would love to see the belly stick around but just shrink a bit in order for him to make his fights winnable. Whatever happens with Roy Nelson, his mullet will still be flowing in the wind and won't hide from the facts that he is faced with.
If the belly shrinks so be it, but the fans won't leave him because he attaches himself to his fans in a unique way and takes everything with a grain of salt. He knows what he needs to do to further his MMA career and as you read this I'm sure Roy Nelson 1.1 is getting retooled