After nearly 8 years with the UFC, Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson (22-4) has found a new home.
The 40-year-old TUF Season 10 winner has inked an exclusive deal with Bellator that will likely see him end his professional mixed martial arts career with the promotion. Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting broke the news of this signing earlier today; Bellator is expected to make an official announcement in the coming days.
Nelson held a record of 9-10 during his 19-fight stint with the UFC that included wins over the likes of Mirko Cro Cop, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, Stefan Struve and Matt Mitrione. Aside from his power right hand of doom that ended fights on multiple occasions, Nelson was most well-known for his heart and toughness. Nelson was able to withstand beatings from a murderer’s row of former MMA champions including Fabricio Werdum, Frank Mir, Josh Barnett, Daniel Cormier, Alistair Overeem and current UFC champ Stipe Miocic in fights that ended in lopsided decisions.
The Las Vegas native’s chin would hold up until he met with Mark Hunt in Japan back in 2014 in a main event battle that featured two of the most dangerous one punch KO artists in the sport. Hunt would be the first man to sleep Nelson in his UFC career after a vicious walk off uppercut KO that faceplanted “Big Country,” leaving him unconscious inside of a cage for only the 2nd time of his professional career.
Nelson went 3-7 during his last 10 fights with the UFC. He joins a roster in Bellator that includes Cheick Kongo, Bobby Lashley, Matt Mitrione and Fedor Emelianenko.