In an unusual turn of events, UFC 166’s co-main event grudge match between heavyweights Daniel Cormier and Roy Nelson, which has been fueled by a lot of trash talk, were quite cordial with one another while being dual-interviewed by Ariel Helwani. Obviously, the most urgent topic needed to be discussed was Cormier’s request to the Texas state athletic commission for “Big Country” to – wait for it – shave his beard(!).
Thankfully, the Lonestar State’s sports government thought better of the idea and let Nelson keep his ever-growing, chin-mane of discolored Brillo hair. “I was trying to kind of help him out, maybe it will help put him in better graces with [UFC President] Dana White,” quips Cormier who admitted in other interviews this week he made the request to mess with Nelson’s mind. As for White’s opinion, he’s the most avid critic of Nelson’s beard, which is most likely why “Big Country” will never shave it as a passive-aggressive middle finger to the boss. Although, Nelson disclosed he did trim it.
Nevertheless, the 2x US Olympic freestyle wrestler did provide sage advice regarding the maintenance of primo facial fuzz. “When it starts to get more gray than brown then you should probably cut it off,” affirms Cormier.
The second half of the interview concerned Nelson’s selling – if not, over-selling – he had a terrible training camp leading into this bout, but Cormier’s not buying it. “I’ve trained for the best Roy Nelson there is,” says Cormier who is looking to remain undefeated as a pro MMA fighter and waltz into his future drop to light-heavyweight with an unblemished record. “I respect Roy a ton. I know he’s got a ton of skills.”
Lastly, Cormier jokes that the only personal reason he has to scrap with Nelson is “Big Country” stealing all of Cormier’s friends like fighters/brothers “King” Mo Lawal and Abdullah Lawal, and manager Mike Kogan.