Flashback to 2003: Roy Nelson beats Frank Mir, Brandon Vera, and Diego Sanchez to be crowned Grapplers Quest Superfight Champion
On November 15, 2003, Grapplers Quest hosted the Best Superfight Absolute Division ever assembled on U.S. Soil in Las Vegas, Nevada. Roy "Big Country" Nelson fighting out of Marc Laimon's Cobra Kai academy won a stacked 8-man absolute grappling tournament at Grapplers Quest West 4 beating Frank Mir, Brandon Vera, and Diego Sanchez in an 8-man grappling tournament
Check out the photo gallery from November 2003 here:
In the opening round, Nelson beat Frank Mir by a score of 15-2. In the semi-finals Nelson defeated Brandon Vera via Kneebar. Then in the finals, Nelson outscored Diego Sanchez 19-2 to win the entire tournament.
-Jamie Cruz (Renzo Gracie) defeated Alex “The Brazilian Killa” Stiebling (PRIDE veteran) via points (17-2).
-Diego Sanchez (Jackson’s Fighting) defeated Brent Stuchlik (Dean Lister) via submission (Rear Naked Choke).
-Brandon Vera (Lloyd Irvin) defeated Justin Ellison (Walt Bayless) via points.
-Roy Nelson (Cobra Kai) defeated Frank Mir (UFC veteran) via points (15-2).
-Diego Sanchez (Jackson’s Fighting) defeated Jamie Cruz (Renzo Gracie) via points.
-Roy Nelson (Cobra Kai) defeated Brandon Vera (Lloyd Irvin) via submission (Kneebar).
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-Roy Nelson (Cobra Kai) defeated Diego Sanchez (Jackson’s Fighting) via points (19-2).
8-Man Absolute Tournament:
1st Place: Roy Nelson (Cobra Kai)
2nd Place: Diego Sanchez (Jackson’s Fighting)
3rd Place: Jamie Cruz (Renzo Gracie)
4th Place: Brandon Vera (Lloyd Irvin)
The impressive part about this tournament was Roy and the three guys he defeated then went on to become stars in MMA:
-Roy Nelson competed in ADCC and went on to win the IFL World Grand Prix in December 2007 to become the first and only heavyweight champion of the IFL, before they folded in the summer of 2008. He is now a cast member on the upcoming season of TUF 10.
-Diego Sanchez went on to become the champion of the first season of TUF in April 2005. After being a Top 10 welterweight for most of his career, he is now set to fight the winner of Penn-Florian after UFC 101 for a shot at the UFC lightweight title.
-Brandon Vera went on to win the WEC heavyweight title over Mike Whitehead in January 2005 before he made his UFC debut later that year. He quickly became a contender, but eventually dropped down to the UFC light-heavyweight division where he currently competes and is a major contender.
-Frank Mir went on to win the UFC heavyweight title over Tim Sylvia at UFC 48 in June 2004. After being injured in a motorcycle accident shortly after, he worked his way back where he later coached TUF 8 and won the UFC interim heavyweight title at UFC 92 in December 2008.