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Junior dos Santos: Roy Nelson “tougher” than originally expected

Fans surprised by Roy Nelson’s overall durability against the power and precision of Junior dos Santos’ hands this past Saturday night weren’t the only ones who walked away impressed. As it turns out, Nelson’s performance also caught the eye of his UFC 117 opponent.

Dos Santos addressed his in-ring adversary’s showing in an interview with MMAFighting.com shortly after being taken to, and ultimately winning in unanimous fashion, the first decision of his career.

“Some guys told me about…he is tough…tough guy…but my thoughts about him now, he’s a bit tougher than I think before.”

When asked for his opinion on Nelson’s ability to absorb damage and keep going, the hard-hitting 25-year old replied, “It’s unbelievable. He’s got great defense too, and…it was a nice fight.”

However, “Cigano” was a bit more hesitant to reply when asked for a prediction on who he felt he would be fighting in the UFC heavyweight title-bout he earned with the win over Nelson – current champ Brock Lesnar or top contender Cain Velasquez.

“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter who is going to be my opponent…Brock against Cain is gonna be a good fight, and…I think…I don’t know who is gonna win.”

Dos Santos is 12-1 overall and 6-0 inside the Octagon. He has finished five of the six opponents he’s faced including notable performances in wins over Gabriel Gonzaga, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, and Fabricio Werdum.

15 COMMENTS
  • Rece Rock says:

    Mir / Nelson next ?

  • KTru says:

    considering Mir is fighting Big Nog, I was thinking Carwin/Nelson. Eventually tho Mir and Roy will suare off

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I was picking Roy to win this fight, and if he had been in better shape i think he comes out with the win. But good for Dos Santos, the guy is a very talented HW with great hands and some serious takedown defense. Great fight.

  • MCM says:

    Mir could be next for Nelson depending on how he does at 119. I don’t know who I’d take in that one as I think Mir has the slightly better stand up and should be able to stuff most of Roy’s takedowns. On the ground, I’d give a slight edge to Roy just cause he’s beaten Mir there before.
    I’m trying to think of who else he could fight but everyone is tied up but Carwin. Gabe is fighting a guy Roy KO’d, Cain is tied up with a title shot, Mir and Nog are fighting each other but they are both possibilities. Shane is the only guy not fighting right now that is the same league as Nelson.
    Maybe give him Kongo or Cro Crop since they have name recognition.

    on a side note….I still wanna see the fat man get in shape and fight at a lower weight class. He could easily make 205 if he lost the belly and I think he could make 185 as well.

  • Dufresne says:

    I’m not convinced that more cardio could have done much for Nelson in this fight. He was exhausted in the 3rd, but considering the number of times he had been blasted in the face and kneed in the body, I can’t believe he was even upright. I don’t know another fighter in the HW division that could have taken that much damage and not been gassed in the 3rd regardless of conditioning. Sure Nelson could stand to lose some weight, but I really don’t think that was his downfall here.

    I think JDS would have a better shot against Cain than he would against Brock to be honest. Cain would probably try and stand with JDS for longer than Brock would, and I don’t see Cain’s takedowns being as explosive as Brocks. Both of those lead me to think that JDS/Cain would be a standup fight, which is where JDS is at his best. Not saying that Cain couldn’t potentially beat JDS standing, just that Cain/JDS plays more into JDS’s strengths more than Brock does.

    I would love to see Nelson/Mir, but as KTru pointed out, it’s gonna be a while since Mir is already locked into a fight. I don’t know how Carwin/Nelson would play out, that could be interesting. Carwin has heavy hands and nasty uppercuts combined with pretty solid takedown defense, so he could fare pretty well. But if Nelson did get him to the ground I think he would have a definitive edge in the submission department. So who knows?

    Lovin the HW division these days.

  • JBAR says:

    My how far the HW division has come in a few years. It was not that long ago when it was the worst division in the UFC and now it is one of the best.

  • Yeah i agree HW has gotten STACKED, I dont think Roy’s weight was a huge issue but if that guy were to get onto an incredible nutrition program and join one of the better camps( Extreme Couture, Jackson, ATT or AKA) and drop to about 235-240 he could either easily cut to 205 and be a monster or be like JR and Cain as one of the smaller and more explosive HW. I mean seriously he never gave up the fight and a couple of his shots had Cigano thinkin twice. Him and Mir would be awesome due to the submission game both posses. Mir has more technical standup but Roy has a much better chin. could be interesting. Or Roy and Yvel. that could be entertaining. OH or Roy and cro cop. Fireworks all day!

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    “On the ground, I’d give a slight edge to Roy just cause he’s beaten Mir there before”

    When did this happen?. Did Nelson beat Mir in a grappling match?.

    Anyway I think the next opponent for Roy should be Rothwell.

  • sensiman says:

    Roy Nelson beat Frank Mir at Grapplers quest in 2003. Although it was a much slimmer and in better shape Nelson than the current Nelson we see fight today.

  • JBAR says:

    I can see it now, Jenny Craig or Nutri-system will be his new sponser replacing Burger King.

  • boomnutz says:

    you’re crazy! 185, he’d have to lose 80 pounds, yea right. I honestly feel he keeps his gut to help with his grappling, before you call me crazy look at how he uses it to wear people down and control them from top position. Now, after fighting an elite fighter hopefully he realizes he needs to be more explosive he wants to score a takedown. With that being said i think he should use a strength and condition coach (like Mir) and try to gain some strength not drop 60-80 pounds, that would change everything about him, he may lose is power, may not be en effective grappler at that weight, CRAZY. I think he’s good but i think 4 guys above him will ALWAYS be better.

    I thought it was pretty much a wrap, loser vs Carwin, am i wrong??

  • MCM says:

    No, I’m not crazy boomnutz. Roy is built like a MW, look at how small he is compared to Mir in the video posted above. He’s carrying at least 50 lbs of gut around (I know, we can smell our own), and if he lost it, it would put him closer to 210-215. It’s still a big cut to 185 but not unheard of.
    But I agree that he is one of the few “big” fighters that really knows how to utilize their weight, although I don’t think it would diminish him much as a grappler. I too would rather see him get with a strength coach and trade in a few pounds of fat for muscle and stay at HW. I would actually like to see him get with ANY coach as I think that a gym outside his house could only benefit him.

  • Rich S. says:

    I’m not sure why this fight was the one to bring Roy’s cardio/fitness into question. Is it because he lost?

    Roy has never been in shape, but he’s never really had a problem going all out for 3 rounds either.

    His loss of pace in the 2nd and 3rd is HUGELY due to him getting knocked all but unconscious in the first round, and the fact that Dos Santos almost hit him in the body just as much as the face.

    I’ll let you pick who you think has the best cardio in the Heavyweight division right now, and I’ll guarantee they’d have the same problems if they took the shots that Roy took.

  • Sykotick says:

    That fight was great and. While a lot of people are saying he should get in shape, they also need to realize that he isn’t going to because his weight is what he uses to hold people down

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