Nostradamus is credited by some for predicting a number of historical events from the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler, to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping is even calling for the end of humanity on May 21.
Then there’s UFC heavyweight Roy (Big Country) Nelson, who in January made the following predictions during an interview with Bloody Elbow: Brock Lesnar would back out of his upcoming fight with Junior (Cigano) Dos Santos, Shane Carwin would step in as a replacement and Nelson himself would face Frank Mir.
While Nostradamus’ and Camping’s respective prophecies range from debatable to downright nutty, Nelson’s foresight cannot be denied. Everything he foretold has come to fruition.
“Everybody’s saying Roy Nelson is the Nostradamus of MMA,” Nelson said on the line from Las Vegas. “No, I mean, sometimes you have those gut feelings, especially when you’ve been in the MMA business as long as I have, and I’m not afraid to say it.”
Nelson’s prophesized fight with Mir is the co-main event of UFC 130, May 28. That is unless Camping’s foreseen rapture is accurate, of course.
Originally, Nelson and Mir received third billing on the card, but were bumped up a slot when Gray (The Bully) Maynard and Frankie (The Answer) Edgar were forced to put their title fight on hold after both suffered injuries. The show will now be headlined by a light-heavyweight scrap between Quinton (Rampage) Jackson and Matt (The Hammer) Hamill.
The funny part is, Nelson always figured he and Mir would serve as the co-main event.
“See this would be my Nostradamus thing again,” Nelson began. “When I first heard we were fighting, I thought we would be the co-main. So apparently what I see just happens. Either I willed it or that’s what I saw.”
Though Nelson won a grappling match against Mir in 2003, he doesn’t necessarily feel that gives him the edge. He also doesn’t put much stock in how fans and critics are breaking down the fight.
“Well he’s supposed to be a better grappler and I’m supposed to be a better striker because I have more knockout wins and he has more submission wins,” Nelson said. “I don’t see that coming into play. Whoever is the better fighter at the end of the day is going to win.”
It’s been nine months since Nelson last appeared in the octagon, losing a unanimous decision to Dos Santos at UFC 117.
Instead of throwing punches at an opponent during this time, Nelson was locked in a legal battle with Roy Jones Jr.’s Square Ring Promotions. Nelson fought for SRP at March Badness against Jeff (The Snowman) Monson on March 21, 2009. SRP claimed to still have Nelson tied down and considered his appearances in the UFC a breach of contract.
Though things looked bleak to those on the outside looking in, the issue was quietly resolved and Nelson is free of any obligations to SRP.
“As you know I’m the Nostradamus of MMA — I said I would be fighting in the UFC again,” Nelson began. “And guess what? I’m fighting in the UFC again.
“I think the way to sum it up is, in the U.S. you can sue people pretty much just to sue people. You can try to get what you want out of it and there’s the legal process of: you make a deal or you don’t make a deal or the court throws it out. But at the end of the day, you can sue anybody.”
Before hopping off the line, Nelson dipped into his crystal ball one more time and left the following tidbits: the winner of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix tournament will be the first Strikeforce heavyweight to fight a UFC heavyweight, the winner of Edgar-Maynard will still be lightweight champion by the end of the year, and though Nelson doesn’t expect to be UFC heavyweight champion in 2011, he will beat Mir at UFC 130 and then claim the strap in early 2012.
“I’m going to say by the end of the year, no,” Nelson said. “If I fight for the belt, yes, but I don’t see that fight happening because Cain (Velasquez) fights in October. So usually they’re going to wait three, four or even six months. January is pushing it, but I can see maybe on the New Year’s card. I’m thinking more like February or March.”
IT’S MMA, NOT JIU JITSU
In a recent interview with ESPN, Nelson unveiled his plan for MMA to be contested within five three-minute rounds. Title fights would last a total of 10 rounds.
The idea is simple: shorter rounds mean more action, a shorter feeling-out process and less material for judges to score per round.
Critics responded by pointing out three-minute rounds would mean fewer opportunities for jiu jitsu fighters to ply their trade. Nelson disagrees.
“We’re doing MMA, not jiu jitsu,” Nelson said to QMI Agency. “Most of your submissions happen within the first three minutes of a fight. If you’re punching someone in the face, they get tired real fast and it opens up more submissions. And the number one submission in MMA is what? The guillotine, which comes from a takedown.”
Nelson also mentioned the ESPN article left out one key element: the referee. Or rather, the lack thereof. Though officials will still be present to stop fights, they would not be allowed to stand competitors up or restart them due to a perceived lack of action.
“If you get taken down, you just leave it alone — the ref doesn’t get in there,” Nelson said. “If you can’t get off your back that’s your own problem. That means you suck. Who’s the better fighter? That’s what we’re trying to accomplish here.”