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Roy Nelson, who's paid to punch people, is so disgusted with Matt Mitrione he'd do it for free

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Roy Nelson def. Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 137: Best photos

When Roy Nelson spoke to MMAjunkie about his Bellator 200 bout with Mirko Cro Cop a few weeks ago, it hadn’t yet been officially determined whether it would serve as an alternate bout for the promotion’s ongoing heavyweight grand prix.

Nelson was already viewing it as such, though, and hoped it would also mean a chance to get back in there for “Round 4” against the man who’d removed him from the tournament in the first place.

Bellator President Scott Coker later confirmed that the winner of the May 25 heavyweight meeting at London’s SSE Arena will indeed step in should any of the four remaining participants get injured. And, while Nelson is also looking at that crown, his lust for this very specific revenge lingers.

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“Any time you can get back into title contention, it’s always nice,” Nelson said Thursday during a conference call. “But I just want to get through Mirko and then if we can get a chance to fight Matt Mitrione again, that’s pretty much where I’m kind of looking. And then whoever has the belt, those are my two agendas.”

Mitrione beat Nelson via majority decision at Bellator 194 in February, avenging a 2012 loss, when the two were still competing under the UFC banner. Settling what is now an even score, though, is not all there is to Nelson’s desire to fight him again.

While the two were somewhat amicable in the build-up to the rematch, things weren’t as peaceful once it was done. Mitrione accused Nelson of cheating in the fight and Nelson responded by making it personal. The bumpy relationship, it seems, isn’t about to be mended.

“He’s just a guy that I’m actually – I really am disgusted with,” Nelson said. “So that’s a guy who I actually really want to punch in the face. Everybody else, I just want to punch in the face because I get paid. He, I just want to punch up his face for free.”

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Before that happens, though, Nelson (23-15 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) needs to tend to more immediate business with Cro Cop (36-11-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA). And it’s yet another rematch, too, from a UFC 137 encounter in which Nelson came out victorious with a first-round TKO.

These two have exchanged their share of unpleasantries, too, namely when Nelson’s publicly stated suspicion that Cro Cop’s been making use of “special supplements” caused the Croatian to fire back at his “fat disrespectful ass.” In April, it was announced that Cro Cop, who’d had issues with USADA in 2015, had passed the first drug test in connection to his Bellator 200 bout.

The tone of Thursday’s call was cordial. But, asked whether hearing Cro Cop was being tested prior to the fight made him more confident the two would enter it on an even playing field, Nelson was direct.

“No, because we get tested all the time and then 10 weeks or 11 weeks out doesn’t really make a difference for the fight,” Nelson said.

Things didn’t take a turn for the contentious, though, and Nelson praised the displays Cro Crop has put on in his recent eight-fight streak.

“He’s bringing it back to the old school where we go out there and try to finish fights,” Nelson said. “I think that’s the thing I’ve seen, is he just goes out there and finishes fights.”

Should Nelson get past Cro Cop, a few avenues can open. Nelson has made it clear that, beyond this one, his focus is on either taking the title or rematching Mitrione. But he would also be OK with the idea of meeting a fellow Bellator heavyweight who, despite a six-fight winning streak, ended up not being included in the tournament.

“For me I think the grand prix was just to get people interested back in the heavyweight division,” Nelson said. “Now, if I have to fight Cro Cop and get through Cheick Kongo to get to the title fight, I’m all for it. I know Kongo has done really well for himself for the last five or six fights. So he definitely deserves a shot at the title.

“But, at the same time, who has he been fighting? And I think it’s because, all he does is – he hasn’t been exciting. I think his last fight, was the only one he finished in the last five or six years or something like that.”

For more on Bellator 200, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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