Roy Nelson began training Kung Fu at the age of 16 before picking up Brazilian jiu-jitsu to his arsenal. Nelson has competed at the Abu Dhabi Grappling Championships, and he was awarded a black belt by Renzo Gracie in August 2009.
Nelson made his professional MMA debut in April 2004. He joined the IFL in January 2007, competing under Ken Shamrock and the Lions’ Den. At the end of the year, he won the IFL Heavyweight Championship and defended the title twice before the promotion folded.
After one bout in EliteXC, Nelson was a part of season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter. Nelson defeated Kimbo Slice, Justin Wren, James McSweeney and Brendan Schaub, in that order, to win the season and a six-figure UFC contract.
Nelson would have some success in the UFC, picking up wins over Mirko Cro Cop, Matt Mitrione, Cheick Kongo, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
His UFC contract expired in April 2017, and the next month, he signed with Bellator MMA, debuting at Bellator 183 that September.
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