UFC 161 fight notes: Big Country's got some work to do

Roy Nelson doesn't impress many people with his grooming and eating habits but he sure does know...

Roy Nelson doesn't impress many people with his grooming and eating habits but he sure does know how to punch

Kirk Penton, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:51 PM ET

Roy (Big Country) Nelson has a chance to steal the show on Saturday night, and Dana White knows it.

“He could. The thing about Roy Nelson is he knocked out Cheick Congo with a punch to the neck,” White said. “The guy hits hard, he’s got an unbelievable chin, his wrestling is great, and he’s a great jiujitsu guy.

“Grooming? Not so well. Watching his weight? Not great. But everywhere else …”

Nelson is a fan favourite due to his long hair, wild beard and physique that doesn’t exactly scream mixed martial arts. White has been critical of Nelson over the years, but he knows why people love the devastating puncher.

“He’s a guy who will go out and fight, and he’s a guy who will try to knock your head off, and that’s what fans love,” White said. “And they probably like him because I don’t.”

Nelson’s UFC contract comes to an end after his heavyweight battle with Stipe Miocic on Saturday night at MTS Centre, but there are those who think Nelson is going to ask for a title fight if he emerges victorious. White both squashed that theory and took a shot at Nelson.

“If he beats Stipe, he’s not next in line,” White said. “He’d have to beat one of the top guys. If he wins he’s going to say all kinds of stupid s---. That’s what we’re used to. I’m used to him saying stupid s---.”

THANKS, COACH

The CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers got waxed 24-6 in their pre-season opener against the Toronto Argonauts on Wednesday night, so maybe they should look at signing UFC heavyweight Shawn Jordan.

That’s because Jordan played fullback for LSU when current Bombers offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton was in the same role for the Tigers. They even won an NCAA championship together in 2007.

“I loved coach Crowton. Awesome guy,” Jordan said. “One of the nicest, nicest guys out there. I don’t remember him ever cussing. Never. Coach Crowton was one of the nicest guys I ever played for. He was just real genuine, real nice, real down to earth.

“He would get mad, and it was almost funny because it was like, ‘Are you really mad? Because you’re not even yelling at me. Like, I’m not sure how to take this.’ And going from guys like Nick Saban or Jimbo Fisher, who insult your mother halfway through, it’s like, well, I don’t know if I should take you seriously or not because you’re not making me want to cry.”

WAIT A MINUTE

Dan Henderson, who will fight Rashad Evans in the three-round main event on Saturday night, said fans who think the card won’t be any good should take another look at the lineup.

"Most people are still excited about the card,” Henderson said. “It’s got the makings to be a really great card with a lot of knockout artists on the card. For someone to not be excited about it, they might not be fans of the sport.”

MMA LOVERS

UFC events in Canada have always been well attended, and this one will be no different.

The card sold out shortly after tickets went on sale, and White said Thursday they are trying to free up a few more for those who want to attend at the last minute.

“I’ve always said that Canada probably has the most (MMA) fans per capita than anywhere I’ve been,” Henderson said. “I guess that’s still true, with the way they sold out this card. It happened real quick and set some records. I’m excited to be part of that.”

MAY I PUNCH YOU?

England’s Rosi Sexton will step into the Octagon with Alexis Davis of Port Colborne, Ont., on Saturday night in what will be the first UFC fight for both women.

Sexton took a few shots at Davis on her blog a few weeks ago, but she figures there won’t be many vocal insults hurled between the two fighters from Commonwealth countries.

“Me being British and Alexis being Canadian, the quality of trash talk in this matchup is just not there,” Sexton said with a laugh. “We’re gonna be really polite about each other right up until the point when that cage door closes, and then the politeness stops.”

NOT YET

Sexton has an eight-year-old son, Louis, who isn’t quite at the point where she wants him watching her fights live.

“He’s just got to the age now where he’s started saying, ‘I want to come and watch!’ And I’m saying not yet. I’m not quite ready for that at the moment,” Sexton said.

“He does watch some of my fights on video afterwards, because he’s been around the sport all his life. He thinks it’s just another sport. He’s quite familiar with what goes on and he takes it all in stride.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Sexton said her parents aren’t quite ready to watch her fights live, either.

“My parents usually watch it back on video afterwards, because they get a little bit nervous,” she said. “It’s the nature of parents everywhere.”


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