Despite wielding the title of “last Heavyweight Champion” of the now defunct IFL, Roy Nelson’s confidence that he would easily win the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter may have been off-putting to some. Coming off consecutive losses to Andrei Arlovski and Jeff Monson, it wasn’t unreasonable to doubt the rotund heavyweight’s ability to make his way through a field of former NFL athlete’s and streetfighters of questionable caliber, even if they were green to the fight game. The brash Nelson put the doubter’s to rest, however, stamping an exclamation point on the show’s finale with a first round KO of Brendan Schaub. His most recent loss, to the heavy-handed Junior dos Santos, did little to diminish his growing popularity with UFC fans. Being the only fighter to go a full three rounds with dos Santos showed the world that he has nothing left to prove, or does he? On page 60, RJ Clifford takes a ride alongside the former champ to find out.
One of the questions that is inevitably raised when discussing Roy Nelson is, “How can someone with his physique possibly be in good enough shape to fight at an elite level?” In this issue, we begin to take a more in-depth look into the complex world of cardiovascular conditioning. On page 86, you’ll find that not all is as it seems, as a fighter that tires may not necessarily be in the best condition and vice versa. Stay tuned over the next few months as we start to dig deeper into the science of cardio and how it can be applied to greater effect inside the cage.