Since his Bellator departure, former UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson has remained largely out of the spotlight.
Not having competed since August 2020, Nelson (23-19) has put his feelers out as to what his next move will be. In a recent interview with The Schmo, Nelson revealed he’s engaged in discussions with both Bellator president Scott Coker and Triller CEO Ryan Kavanaugh about his next fight.
In Bellator, a promotion Nelson parted ways with in late 2020, he would like to fight legendary all-time great heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko (40-6 MMA, 4-2 BMMA). Emelianenko has one contracted bout left for the promotion and awaits to see how the Bellator 273 main event plays out Jan. 29 before choosing his next opponent.
“I just need a Fedor,” Nelson said. “I haven’t fought Fedor and Fedor is my only one on my bucket list. If I fought Fedor and beat Fedor, I’d be the only one who beat the three who’s-who: (Mirko) Cro Cop, ‘Big Nog’ (Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira), and then Fedor. I’ve got two of the three, so right now I’m OK.
“Right now, we’re in talks with Scott for the Fedor fight. Fingers crossed, but it’s not up to me. It’s up to Fedor. … He wants to fight Ryan (Bader). … But Ryan is fighting for the belt next weekend (against Valentin Moldavsky). (Moldavsky) was my last fight and I lost a decision to the interim champ. I think Fedor wants to fight him because Ryan knocked him out last. That’s, from my understanding, who he really wants. We’ll see how things go.”
Nelson isn’t sure the Emelianenko opportunity will come to fruition, since the opponent for “The Last Emperor’s” final ride will be the choice of the Russian heavyweight.
“Let’s just throw it out in the universe,” Nelson said. “If it comes back, it comes back. If not, it’s all right. … I think (a timeline) would be more up to Fedor. I wouldn’t even care. It could be Christmas. That’s how we’ve always rolled. But I think they want that fight in like July or October.”
As for Triller’s Triad Combat, which puts boxers against MMA fighters in semi-hybrid rules matches, Nelson said discussions have taken place, too. While he’s intrigued by the dimensions of the fighting surface, he sees Triad Combat as more of a boxing match than an MMA fight.
“I’ve talked to Ryan (Kavanagh),” Nelson said. “… It’s definitely interesting, but they want to say it’s something different. All it is is boxing with MMA gloves. That’s all it is. … It’s just boxing. That’s the only thing I do like. I like that it’s three corners and it’s pretty much, ‘Ready? Fight,’ and you’re already fighting. You can’t run around and make some room. It’s one step and you’re already fighting. It’s like fighting in a 25-foot cage, the Tuff-N-Uff or the smaller cage vs. the 30-foot cage. … So it’s something that I’m definitely (looking at). On my bucket list is to do some kind of boxing. I want to do that.”
Nelson, 45, has lost five fights in a row. The losing skid occurred under the Bellator banner in its entirety and succeeded Nelson’s lone Bellator win, which came against Javy Ayala in September 2017.