Regardless of whether he wins or loses, Roy “Big Country” Nelson remains a draw with UFC fans, thanks to his everyman personality, rotund physique that sees him competing with athletes that look much more imposing than him, and his entertaining fight style. In short, Nelson is an entertaining fighter who the fans love, despite the fact that he’s almost always the underdog.

So coming off a unanimous decision loss Saturday night against Alistair Overeem at UFC 185, it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, there were some positives to take from the bout. For starters, Nelson seemed a little more spry than he sometimes is late in the third. Questions about his chin have been answered, not that they really should have been asked in the first place: it’s intact, as he took quite a few punishing blows from the Dutchman.

Most frustrating for Big Country fans, however, is the fact that twice in the bout, when Nelson had Overeem in danger, most notably in the third round when he scored a knockdown and had a chance to pull out a late TKO win, he opted to press for a takedown against the fence. Whether this was part of some gameplan we don’t know, but it was definitely the wrong move for a man with Big Country’s power.

In any case, despite being 1-4 in his last five, Roy Nelson will live to fight another day. Here’s a look at who he should face.

Ben Rothwell

This is dependent on Rothwell losing his upcoming fight against Matt Mitrione, and that fight is really a toss up. Nelson already has a win over “Meathead” and there’s really no need for a rematch, so Rothwell, who holds a decision win over Nelson from outside the UFC, is the only one of the two who makes sense.

If Rothwell wins, however, this bout is off the table.

Travis Browne-Andrei Arlovski Loser

Travis Browne is one of the few big-name heavyweights in the UFC that Nelson hasn’t already fought. Andrei Arlovksi, meanwhile, handed Nelson his very first stoppage loss back in Elite XC. Both these potential bouts are intriguing. Browne may be too much for Nelson to handle at this point, but Nelson would represent a decent comeback bout should he lose, and Arlovski is ranked low enough that, even if Big Country slips out of the top ten after losing to Overeem, they’re still not that far apart.

Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva

This is probably the best option for Roy Nelson at this point, and feels a lot like his bout with Big Nog. It would be another battle of the “Bigs” — Country vs. Foot — and was actually scheduled to take place a few years back. Both men have been struggling of late, both were once considered title hopefuls (Silva actually had a title shot against champ Cain Velasquez), and they have both fought and lost recently.

Nelson would open as the favorite in this one, and it’s hard to imagine him having issue landing that right hand in it.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.