(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
It also figured Roy Nelson would be the one who stepped up to the plate.
Asked about whether his opponent on Saturday night, Dave "Pee Wee" Herman, presented a formidable challenge, the fighter known as "Big Country" didn't hesitate.
"He's a realistic threat," Nelson said. "He's the white version of Jon Jones, tall, lanky, unorthodox, you don't know what you're going to expect. At one time, he liked to party. So, you know, just like Jon Jones."
Appraised of Nelson's analysis, Herman busted out laughing. Once he regained his composure, Herman replied "Tell him I said 'thank you for the compliment.' Any reason to be compared to Jon Jones is fine by me."
With that, it's clear that Nelson is in his usual wisecracking form as he heads into the all-heavyweight UFC 146 main card less than four months removed from taking a wicked beating from Fabricio Werdum. Nelson was originally scheduled to face Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva on Saturday. But as a result of the various reconfigurations of Saturday's card, he ended up instead with Herman, a 24-3 veteran who has fought pretty much everywhere.
"Dave's one of the most versatile guys out there," Nelson said. "He'll take you to the ground and submit you, he'll ground and pound you, he's more versatile when it comes to unorthodox stuff. You know, with ‘Bigfoot,' he's going to plod, he's going to kick you, he's more predictable the things he brings to the table. Dave is more unpredictable."
"Everyone's watched Dave," Nelson said. "Dave's been around from EliteXC to Japan. He's been around this business a very long time. Usually you go where the money is."
Nelson, the "Ultimate Fighter 10" winner and former IFL champ, has money on his mind as his career winds along. It's pretty clear at this point the 35-year-old-Nelson's not likely to win the UFC heavyweight title. And with three losses in his last four fights, he wouldn't be immune from the cutting block if he puts in a subpar performance on Saturday.
"Big Country" sees the recent turn of events in "King" Mo Lawal's career, who will split his time between fighting and pro wrestling, as a potential inspiration. As a charismatic, quotable fighter known as much for his personality and quick wit as for his considerable toughness in the cage, Nelson can see himself making a similar switch when the time is right.
"I don't know why I couldn't do it," Nelson (23-7) said. "What's wrong with being a two-sport athlete? You've got Deion Sanders, you've got Bo Jackson, you've got Michael Jordan, he wasn't a very good baseball player. There's nothing wrong with crossing over. Mo's getting paid good money."
"We're in the entertainment business. As much as people would like to say it's sport, its definitely entertainment. We handle it from both sides of the coin: from the sport aspect and the entertainment aspect. You gotta have both because we're if not doing solid ratings, we're not going to be on TV. It's definitely entertainment."
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