Dana White says UFC 166's Roy Nelson has persecution complex

"It's never easier or harder," White said. "It's just the same."

A continuing feature of Nelson negotiations, according to White, is an earful from the fighter about how the promotion is mistreating him.

"Roy has this belief that we won't give him a title shot," White said. "We just won't do it."

The executive's counterargument to that is that Nelson has, in fact, been given opportunities to earn a title shot. But against every opponent who might have put him over that edge into the realm of No. 1 contender, he's fallen short.

"You've got to beat the guys to get a title (shot)," White said. "He's never beat the guys to get himself in line for a title shot."

Many observers expected Nelson to fall to the curb after he lost a lopsided short-notice fight against Stipe Miocic at this past month's UFC 161 event, which served as the final obligation of his previous deal. But instead, the mulleted heavyweight and fan favorite went back to the table with White and the UFC (via his manager), and eventually inked a surprising nine-fight contract.

And to make it clear that Nelson (19-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) wasn't fighting nobodies, the promotion offered him a fight with Daniel Cormier (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), a former Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix champion who's been cast as a future champion (though not at heavyweight since long as his training partner, Cain Velasquez, holds the belt). The two meet at UFC 166, which takes place Oct. 19 at Toyota Center in Houston.

It didn't hurt, of course, that Nelson and Cormier already had been promoting the pay-per-view fight, with Cormier going so far as to goad his prospective opponent by signing a mock bout agreement.

"We did a new deal with him, and Cormier wanted to fight him, and they've been talking smack, so we gave him the Cormier fight," White said. "We'll see where that takes him."

Prior to his setback against Miocic, Nelson racked up three straight knockout wins against Dave Herman, Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo. During his UFC career, he's won five performance bonuses, including four for "Knockout of the Night."