UFC 166: Roy Nelson Faces Formidable Challenge In Daniel Cormier

By Rick LaFitte
Roy Nelson
Brad Penner USA TODAY Sports

Roy Nelson has a puncher’s chance against any man he faces in the Octagon but he will get a tremendous test this weekend at UFC 166 against Daniel Cormier. “Big Country” is looking to get back into the win column after a surprisingly lopsided decision loss against Stipe Miocic at UFC 161. Nelson was beaten to the punch for the bulk of the fight. While he’s never traditionally in the greatest of shape, he seemed to run out of gas earlier than usual in that fight.

Cormier, on the other hand, never seems to run out of gas. The dynamo wrestler is 12- 0 in his career and made his UFC debut with a decision win against veteran Frank Mir. It was a rather tentative affair and certainly lacked the type of performance that fans saw out of Cormier when he tossed the much larger Josh Barnett around like a rag doll to win the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Final. Cormier, who trains with current UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, is planning to move down to light heavyweight after this fight to avoid any possibility of having to face his good friend down the road.

Cormier is much more interested in a title fight at 205 pounds against Jon “Bones” Jones than the current light heavyweight champion seems to be in facing him.  However, if Jones defeats Glover Teixeira in his next title defense, the two big challenges in the division would be a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson or a fight against Cormier. Cormier has an improving striking game and does possess some power as evidenced by his five career knockouts. One of those current knockouts came against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. However, he lacks the true one-punch knockout power that Nelson possesses.

This fight would likely see Nelson dangerous in the opening moments, but Cormier’s pace will likely see him take over the bout if he’s able to avoid “Big Country’s” tremendous right hand. Cormier’s outstanding wrestling pedigree will likely allow him to control the action and to wear Nelson down. Fans would definitely take notice if he were to stop Nelson, as he has never been stopped inside the Octagon during his 10 appearances. The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 winner tasted heavy shots from a brutal puncher in the form of top contender Junior dos Santos and simply would not quit.

While Nelson’s spirit may be willing and his punching power could produce an upset, the signs point to Cormier maintaining his undefeated record in Houston this weekend. If that happens he’d be making the move down to 205 pounds with plenty of momentum and would begin his quest to land his coveted light-heavyweight title shot.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports

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