Roy "Big Country" Nelson became well known in the UFC community after being the second man to beat Kimbo Slice in a televised match, which drew in a mere 6.1 million viewers . He went further in the competition by winning it outright after knocking out Brendan Schaub, who was previously undefeated .
Dana White reluctantly gave Nelson a UFC contract, in which he most recently dominated Stefan "The Skyscraper" Struve by TKO in 39 seconds . But after such a performance against Struve, Nelson deserves a lot of respect for a couple of reasons.
For one, the only other fighter to beat Struve in under a minute was Junior Dos Santos, who did it in 54 seconds . Two, Nelson continues to improve immensely. He went from starting off as a grappler in his early fights and progressed to include a sound stand-up game, holding three KOs and five TKO victories .
For the aforementioned reasons, Dana White should give more respect to Nelson, as he was one half of the fight that skyrocketed TUF's ratings to record heights. Plus, without Nelson's victory, Dana White would have had to eat his words as he was banking on Kimbo to fail. Now, though, Kimbo has earned a bit more credit in Dana White's eyes since he is due to appear again in the UFC on May 8th, 2010 . So what about Nelson?
Dana White may indeed have a hang-up with him, as he did find the whole "King wants it his way!" celebration annoying. However, despite that possibility and the fact that often times people underestimate him, Nelson deserves more high profile fights. With the devastating victory over Struve, even Dana White should be eager to put him on a main card on Pay-Per-View.
Perhaps Gabriel Gonzaga, who has recently been going back and forth on the heavyweight ladder, would be a good test for Nelson's ability to handle a high caliber UFC fighter. Dos Santos recently put Gonzaga away in the first round . If Nelson can also make quick and/or decisive work of Gonzaga, he should without a doubt be considered in the running for the championship.
One thing is for sure—it doesn't look like "Big Country" will lose anytime soon. The more he keeps demolishing UFC prospects, the more fans will wonder how well he would do against a headliner. Perhaps Dana White is afraid that Nelson will beat whomever he puts in front of him.
Rashad Evans hand-picked Nelson to fight Kimbo because he knew he was the one fighter that wouldn't let Kimbo's mystique get to his head. Given his success after repeatedly being considered the underdog, it's time "Big Country" gets to roam free. Let the games begin.