Nelson, who's 1-3 in his last four trips to the Octagon, believes that any heavyweight can get a hold of UFC gold with just one punch. And that's why he wasn't surprised with the way the UFC 198 main event materialized. Instead, he was inspired to become the next UFC heavyweight champion.
"All I know is that Stipe gave me inspiration because if Stipe can be that UFC champion, and they actually gave him a title shot, then I'm like, ‘Ah, I do have a chance,'" Nelson said on last week's edition of The MMA Hour.
The fact that Nelson and Stipe have a history together may be one of the reasons behind "Big Country's" title inspiration. Back in June 2013, Nelson stepped up and fought Miocic on short notice in the co-main event of UFC 161. Nelson entered the Octagon as the veteran, ranked in the top five of the UFC's heavyweight division and was riding a three-fight winning streak that included impressive first-round finishes over Dave Herman, Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo. Meanwhile, Miocic had only competed four times in the Octagon and was coming off a technical knockout loss to Stefan Struve.
During their fight, Nelson pressured Stipe in hopes of landing a knockout punch, while Miocic intelligently moved away from Nelson's power, staying in the outside and connecting solid strikes on Nelson. Although both fighters had good moments, it was clear that Stipe was the winning the fight, as he outpointed Nelson, winning a unanimous decision. The 39-year-old Nelson says Miocic is a "point fighter" and he ran from him during their UFC 161 bout, just like he did against Werdum.
"He did the point fighting with me too," Nelson said. "He ran. You can actually see him, you know, like the people who are track stars. But I would love to fight Stipe again, especially now, because he's the champ, and with a full camp. I would love a full camp."
But before Nelson can think of fighting Miocic, he first has to get through rising heavyweight prospect Derrick Lewis, who's currently on a three-fight wining streak.
Both knockout artists are scheduled to battle in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 90. Nelson is happy to be facing a fighter that comes to fight like Lewis and says Lewis reminds him of a bigger version of long-time heavyweight kingpin Fedor Emelianenko.
"The one thing about Derrick is that he reminds me of a bigger version of Fedor, like when he gets that ground-and-pound going he'll just beat you up," Nelson explained. "And then, the one thing is that he's calm, cool and collected when you take him down, and you know, he just muscles back up and puts the wrath on. The one thing I like is that he comes to fight. That's what makes him fan friendly."
Not looking past Lewis, Nelson believes that with a win over "The Black Beast," a title fight with Miocic makes sense for him and says the UFC owes him a rematch with Miocic.
"Stipe has the belt, then Stipe," Neslon said. "I just think the UFC owes it to me to give me a full camp to beat him up. But I'm not worried about that right now. All I care about is Derrick."