Roy Nelson versus Josh Barnett is a big match set for the UFC’s return to Japan later this year in September. It’s a big fight for the Heavyweight division.
Roy Nelson has only won one fight in his last five. A first round knockout of Big Nog is sandwiched around losses to Stipe Miocic, Daniel Cormier, Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem. He was only finished in one of those fights by the steel hands of Hunt. At age of 38, he may only have a few more fights left in him at this point, but this is one fight that makes sense.
Barnett looked to be a contender in the Heavyweight division after he resigned with the UFC when Strikeforce folded. Even more so when he finished former UFC Heavyweight champion Frank Mir in his return. Then, he was finished in the first round himself by Travis Browne in December of 2013. Now, after a 20 month layoff he will finally return at the age of 37. Still, he kept busy in the off time having competed in grappling and wrestling events.
Despite their respective absences and losses, these two are still figuring prominently in the UFC title bid. Nelson is still ranked in the top 15 while Barnett is in the top 5. While it will be longer for Nelson to rebuild after his losses, it is a little bit easier for Barnett to shoot to the top. With a win, he could be a contender with just another win or two since the division is very thin.
Roy Nelson versus Josh Barnett takes place in Japan.
This fight is huge for the Japanese audience who know Barnett from his PRIDE days and Nelson is known for his body style and fighting style. No other fights have been announced for the September card, but it will be interesting to see who else pops up on the next international card.