Each week, ESPN.com MMA writer Brett Okamoto, ESPN Insider senior editor Mike Huang and a special guest panelist tackle five questions that are buzzing in the world of mixed martial arts.
1. Did Phil Davis fight scared against Anthony Johnson?
Guida: I wouldn't say scared, necessarily. I would just say that Johnson "big brothered" him. He did what Rashad Evans did to him a few years ago but even worse. Once Davis realized he couldn't get a takedown, he was just kind of like, "Oh my goodness." Davis has never been a real big power puncher, so he knew that just trying to put together combinations wasn't going to do much. And I think going into the fight, Davis might have bitten off more than he could chew. Johnson was there to show people he might have left the UFC on a sour note, but he's back to stay. He is one big, scary dude.
Brett Okamoto: I also wouldn't say scared, but he was hesitant after eating a few punches from the heavy-handed Johnson. There came a point in that fight where it was pretty clear that Davis had to get a takedown if he wanted to win, but he balked a few times when it came to fully committing or setting up his shots. If there was any "fear" involved, it was more about Davis feeling uncomfortable with something he felt in the pocket.
Huang: I think there comes a point when a fighter realizes that nothing he's doing is working. For Davis, you could see the moment he got hit by one of Johnson's first big bombs, he knew he had underestimated Johnson. After taking the first few shots, he didn't want to take anymore, so he circled a lot. His own punches weren't doing much, either. But I don't believe that Davis' bluster the week leading up to the fight was genuine -- Davis has never really been a big mouth before. As for Johnson? Completely renewed and intimidating.
2. Do you agree with Javier Mendez's recent comments that both Cain Velasquez and Daniel Cormier can defeat Jon Jones?
Guida: I'm not familiar with what he said, but I'd disagree with that. Those are the three toughest guys out there right now. But think about what that says -- there are two guys out there better than Jones? He just proved he's the Michael Jordan of MMA, showing some hand-fighting and clinch skills he'd never displayed. And I've only seen Velasquez and Cormier fight; I've never trained with them. Jones might have a harder time with Velasquez simply because of the size difference. But it's tough to say anyone is better than Jones.
Okamoto: Short answer: No. I would give Velasquez an advantage at heavyweight, but it's hard to predict because we haven't seen Jones at that weight. Let's say Jones adds muscle and enters that fight around 240 pounds ... that's not an easy fight for Velasquez. It's a pretty tough one actually, in my opinion. Cormier at light heavyweight? I like Jones to win that.
Huang: I think it's fair for Mendez to say Velasquez would beat Jones. Perhaps Jones has implied as much by saying he has no interest in fighting Velasquez. We've written about this before: Jones would be at a big size disadvantage, and it's folly to try to argue that one way or another. With Cormier it's a different story; there, Jones has the size advantage. Cormier's wrestling skills are world-class, and he'd have to get Jones on his back to have a chance. Otherwise I think Jones would sniper him at length on the feet.
3. Will Andrei Arlovski find success upon his UFC return?
Guida: Let's just say his debut matchup (against Brendan Schaub at UFC 174) is a good one for him. In that bout, you know someone's getting knocked out.
Okamoto: Define "success." Does he recapture a UFC title at this point in his career? No. Can he win some fights in the UFC heavyweight division? Yeah, he can win a handful. People know Arlovski; they recognize his name. He's a guy the UFC can put on a main card and generate some interest. In terms of putting on some good fights and winning a few of them -- the 35-year-old can do that.
Mike Huang: Look, Arlovski has been around for a long time. He's a Chicago guy, so I've seen plenty of him. Not sure what the plan was in bringing him back to the UFC. Sure, the heavyweight division is relatively thin, but bringing in Arlovski is bringing in just another gatekeeper-type body. And his proclivity to being knocked out is actually scary. It's reminiscent of the glass jaws that Chuck Liddell and Rich Franklin exhibited after a long career of taking blows. One tap, gone.
4. Buy or sell: Jones-Gustafsson II lands in Sweden?
Guida: Ah, I'm selling on that one. The UFC likes to keep Jonny in the U.S. for those big pay-per-views. Look, in combat sports or any sport, you're going to have your off days. Jones is no different. You don't always have a great performance. Against Alexander Gustafsson, that's what happened. I think it would be cool for Jonny to go over to Sweden and prove to everyone who is better on Gustafsson's home turf. He's had a great run and demolished Jimi Manuwa, but Jones is still the champ.
Okamoto: Good question. The allure of a massive live-gate profit on 40,000 Gustafsson-crazed Swedes is very tempting if you're the UFC. UFC president Dana White says that fight would sell out Friends Arena near Stockholm easy ... and I would agree. Does Jones put his foot down and say no to it? I don't think so. If the UFC wants this fight in Sweden, I think Jones will have to eventually go along, but my gut tells me it still ends up in the States.
Mike Huang: Sell. Gustafsson fought well against Jones, but they won't give up a pay-per-view just to give Gustafsson home-court advantage. What's the sense in that?
5. Past or present: Who is the most intimidating MMA fighter?
Guida: Heh, he didn't win a lot toward the end of his career, but I'm going back to the old Pride and K-1 days. Bob Sapp was the largest human being I had seen. He looked like he could just pick you up and throw you out of the cage. The guy was a monster.
Okamoto: Current names that come to mind immediately: Jose Aldo, Jon Jones, Robbie Lawler, Hector Lombard. Alistair Overeem used to be on that list; I'm not sure if he still is. Same goes for Anderson Silva. The most intimidating fighter of all time, though, has to be an in-his-prime Wanderlei Silva. The Axe Murderer. A bare-knuckle boxing Brazilian who rave-balled in the ring before terrorizing other men in Japan? That guy was scary.
Mike Huang: In his prime, and before the game passed him by, Quinton Jackson was the most intimidating fighter to me. Even today, you gotta love "Rampage's" march to the Octagon in camouflage shorts with the industrial-sized chain around his neck, sneering, scowling, howling. He perfected that march in his body-slamming Pride days, when his straight-ahead brawling style earned him hordes of followers. That image has softened with age, but you never saw anything like Rampage. When I saw him at UFC 71, I didn't think anyone could knock out Chuck Liddell. But I was actually scared for Liddell.