Roy Nelson hopes Alistair Overeem hasn’t become a safety first Jackson’s fighter

Roy Nelson says Greg Jackson is good for business, bad for the fans 

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When Roy Nelson first traveled to Florida to workout with American Top Team he didn’t even know he was going to be fighting Alistair Overeem at UFC 185 so as it turns out, the decision to go there worked out well.

Nelson has spent the biggest part of his 11-year fight career training close to home in Las Vegas and while he’s worked with a laundry list of top fighters during his time in Sin City, he rarely ever had to leave the confines of Nevada for a training camp.

Things changed this time around as Nelson originally went to American Top Team to help his friend Muhammed Lawal prepare for an upcoming fight and then he got the call about facing Overeem. 

So instead of packing his bags and leaving for Las Vegas, Nelson decided to stay in Florida and work with a gym routinely regarded as one of the very best in the world.

"Mo Lawal had a fight coming up but I was actually meaning to come out to American Top Team for a minute and then ‘Bigfoot’ (Antonio Silva) had a fight coming up so I went out there and hung out and then I found out I had a fight.  So I ended up hanging out there a little big longer," Nelson told FOX Sports on Thursday.

American Top Team has produced some of the best fighters in UFC history as well as current top 10 stalwarts and champions such as welterweight king Robbie Lawler.  Nelson enjoyed his time in Florida with American Top Team and doesn’t shut down the possibility that he could go back there again if the results show in his fight with Overeem on Saturday night.

I just hope his fight style hasn’t changed being over at Jackson’s. I hope he comes to fight cause that’s what fans want to see. They don’t want to see point and run

— Roy Nelson on Alistair Overeem 

"I was there about four weeks. It was just different. It was different being out of your comfort zone," Nelson said. "I’ll let you know after Saturday night how effective it was or if it was bad."

While Nelson changed training camps for this fight, his opponent has been with his new team for about three fights now and the former Ultimate Fighter winner is curious how that might change the dynamic of their matchup this weekend.

Overeem began working with coach Greg Jackson and his team in Albuquerque, New Mexico prior to his fight with Ben Rothwell in 2014 and he picked up his first win under their guidance late last year with a win over Stefan Struve.

Nelson was excited at the prospect of facing Overeem at UFC 185 — assuming Jackson hasn’t tinkered with the Dutchman’s style so much that it makes this a boring fight once it’s all said and done.

"For me the biggest thing with Overeem, he’s a K-1 champ, Strikeforce champ, DREAM champ, you name it, he’s had every belt in there.  I just hope that’s the Alistair that comes out," Nelson explained.  "I know he’s getting better and better, but I just hope his fight style hasn’t changed being over at Jackson’s.

"I hope he comes to fight cause that’s what fans want to see. They don’t want to see point and run."

Nelson isn’t the first fighter to criticize Jackson’s fighters for playing it safe.

Once upon a time, UFC president Dana White took aim at Jackson for that very thing when discussing his influence on fighters and the approach they take when strategizing with the famed New Mexico based coach.

"You’ll see guys who are traditionally exciting fighters, but when they go to the Greg Jackson camp they become safety first fighters," White said in 2010.

Nelson and White have been at odds with each other at times over the years as well, but this appears to be one subject they can agree on.

"I think the difference with Greg Jackson is it’s smarter fighting, where it’s safer.  I don’t want to say unpredictable but just safer so that you have a longer career," Nelson said.

"It’s a good thing on the business side, a bad thing for the fans."

Nelson can’t predict which version of Overeem will show up on Saturday night or if Jackson’s influence has anything to do with his overall performance, but he’s hoping they put on a show and give the fans in Dallas exactly what they paid to see.