Bellator 183's Roy Nelson excited to be doing an old job that's suddenly become new again

SAN JOSE, Calif. Everything old is new again for Roy Nelson in his new promotional home.
Heavyweight fan favorite Nelson (22-14 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), a longtime UFC fighter who won Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” makes his debut for his new promotion tonight at Bellator 183 against Javy Ayala (10-5 MMA, 5-2 BMMA). And he said the change in atmosphere has suddenly made fighting fun again.
“The biggest difference is just being excited to go to work, and can’t wait until Saturday,” Nelson said. “Normally you’re just like, ‘Ahh, there’s all this other stuff,’ and now you’re just like, ‘Ya know what? I can’t will till Saturday.’ … I just want to tell the fans how excited I am. I’m just excited to go out there and put on a good fight.’ There’s a big difference in enthusiasm.”
Bellator 183 takes place tonight at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.
Nelson didn’t have an easy run to close out the second half of his UFC tenure. He won just three of his final 10 fights in the promotion. But he always was a hit with the fans, even if he wasn’t always a hit with UFC President Dana White.
In his 19 fights for the UFC, he picked up five fight-night bonuses. And it could be argued that his resume features the most accomplished opponents of any heavyweight in history. He regularly was in the cage with onetime or current champs and title challengers, including Stipe Miocic, Daniel Cormier, Junior Dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum, Frank Mir, Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett, just to name a few.
So he understands if Ayala, who is coming off a 16-second knockout of Sergei Kharitonov, thinks he can build his name on a win over Nelson.
“The fans I bring, (Ayala could be) like, ‘Damn, I’m gonna make my name off this guy,'” Nelson said. “That would be me. He could be that guy. Or it could be the opposite and going, ‘Damn … I’ve gotta fight this guy?’ Nine times out of 10, it’s ‘Damn … I’ve gotta fight this guy.'”
Nelson is a 2-1 favorite against the younger Ayala, who turned 29 in August. Nelson is 41. With Bellator’s heavyweight title picture in flux, and basically wide open for the taking once the promotion decides what to do with it, Nelson could find himself fighting for a title reasonably quickly in his new home.
But in typical “Big Country” fashion, he said he’ll fight whomever.
“My thing is, I can always fight the best in the world,” he said. “I’m ready to fight the best guy. If he’s a new up-and-comer like Javy he’s under 30; he’s the next new breed. He’s the guy you have to look out for.”
For more from Nelson, check out the video above.And for more on Bellator 183, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.












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