Roy Nelson is a popular American MMA (mixed martial artist) who fights in the Heavyweight division and who turned pro in 2004. Roy competed in various fighting organizations, from UFC, IFL to EliteXC, but today he is a part of Bellator MMA.

His nickname is “Big Country” due to the fact that all MMA fighters thought that he is coming from Iowa or Oklahoma. His more popular nickname is “The Big Chin” due to the fact that he has a big chin which can resist the strongest punches.

Early years

Roy was born on June 20, 1976 in Las Vegas, in Nevada in United Stares,  where he has spent most of his childhood.

After finishing elementary school he became a student at Cimarron-Memorial High School. He was extremely good in sports which he loved from a very early age so he trained a lot of them in school.

He joined the high school’s wrestling, football and baseball team because he was a sport type and couldn’t be still.

He had a lot of energy as a child and his parents wanted him to find somethng he will be excited about so he could be more calm.

Nelson also trained karate for a while at the age of 15. He loved all kinds of martial arts, especially Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

In 1999 he found himself his first job as a manual worker in a warehouse. It was an easy job for him since he had enormous strength but he never really found himself in it.

In 2000 he focused on training jiu- jitsu which eventually led him to a career change. This was the time when he realized that he wanted to be a fighter of some kind.

While training jiu-jitsu and waiting to reach the black belt he had played rugby in the 2002/2003 season as a player for the Las Vegas Blackjacks.

He started serious training in mixed martial arts and devoted himself to jiu jitsu. Renzo Gracie, a known Brazilian jiu-jitsu master had the honors to grant him a black belt in 2009.

This was something Nelson always wanted and when he reached his goal he decided to go further.

Roy was a very devoted competitor and was competing at the Abu Dhabi Grappling Championships.

Career development

In 2004, Nelson had his first fight in MMA tournament. He surprised as a new fighter, winning both fights he fought and becoming the winner of the Rage on the River Heavyweight Tournament.

Before he signed to IFL he had gathered 6 wins and only 1 lost match.

It was in 2007 that Nelson became a member of Nevada Lions, the same year he defeated Vince Lucero. He did an outstanding job by wining by TKO at the beginning of the match.

Nelson reached the title of the Heavyweight Champion by the end of 2007 and suceeded in defending it twice. It was in IFL which soon shut down their organization so he had to sign a new contract.

He joined EliteXC and fought against Andrei Arlovski. He won the fight but his winning pulled controversy because it seemed that he broke rules.

Then he joined The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights show and was involved in a lot of their promotional activities including blogging for and similar.

His first fight was viewed in millions and it ended by his win. He defeated Kimbo Slice and won the audience for himself.

He defeated Justin Wren in the quarterfinals and James McSweeney in the semi-finals.

His dream came true after defeated Brendan Schaub in the finals: getting this The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights title he gained a contract with the UFC.

He won his first fight at The Ultimate Fighter Finale, via TKO against Stefan Struve in the spring of 2010.

He lost a fight against Junior dos Santos and he lost it by unanimous decision. This was a big win for him in another field – he was the only fighter that fought against dos Santos and took him to a decision.

In 2011 he lost a fight against Frank Mir and was later criticized for it. UFC claimed that he wasn’t trained well and that he has no condition.

He won a match against Mirko Cro Cop the same year  and won it by TKO. His next match was against Dave Herman and he won it via TKO. He defeated Cheick Kongo in 2013 in the same way.

Stipe Miocic, a Croatian fighter, suceeded in defeating Roy in the summer of the same year. Nelson signed a new contract with UFC after that.

In his fight against Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira in April 2014, he broke his right hand but still won the match.

He has undergone a surgery because of it and had to pause from fighting.

After that he has lost two matches: against Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem.

His match against Mark Hunt was the first one where he received a knock out.

In 2016 he was facing Antônio Silva at UFC Fight Night and won via KO. He raised controversy after he pushed the referee because he was unhappy with his work.

In 2017, he lost a fight against Alexander Volkov, again by unanimous decision.

His UFC contract expired in 2017 so he joined Bellator MMA.

He debuted for them against Javy Ayala and won.

A lot of his fans were very unpleased by UFC because they believe that Nelson is underesrtimated and paid to little considering how much money he brings to them.

Because of his interesting looks, the beard and the long hair, and since he is very likeable he garnered a lot of fans. UFC uses his popularity and doesn’t award him enough for it.

After this issue was read his fans had found out that Roy doesn’t trust anyone enough to let him be his manager.

He manages himself and it seems that this lack of income comes mainly from his inability to fight for a better pay.

His fans suggested him to find a manager who would help him in that area.

Instead of doing that, Roy transferred to Bellator MMA where he earns more money.

Personal life

His wife is named Jess Nelson and they have a son together. His name is Jackson and Roy spends as much time with him as he can.

He enrolled his son into jiu-jitsu classes and made him an awesome haircut to go with it.

He loves the peace and quite of life outside the ring but he doesn’t post a lot of photos of his wife on his social media accounts.

He has a long beard and a big hair so he is very interesting to watch in the arena. This is one of the things that separates him from other MMA fighters.

He has almost 200,000 followers on his Instagram channel.

He is a very good friend with Russell Peters and they share a lot of common pictures together.

Russell is a very popular comedian and a father of a young girl so the two of them often take their kids out, for example in the cinema or the ZOO.

Roy is a big fan of food, especially meat. His Instagram channel is full of pictures of steaks and barbecues.

Quick summary

Full name: Roy Nelson

Date of birth: June 20, 1976

Birthplace:  Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Age: 42

Profession: MMA artist

Height: 1,83 m

Weight: 112 kgs

Net Worth: $500,000