Chat with Brett Okamoto
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com mixed martial arts writer Brett Okamoto stops by to chat about the news from the octagon.
Okamoto joined ESPN.com in December 2010. Previously, he was the boxing/MMA writer for the Las Vegas Sun newspaper and has also worked with Sports Illustrated magazine and CNN.com.
Send your questions now and join Okamoto Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Brett Okamoto (1:05 PM)
What's up guys? Sorry for the delay, few technical issues on our end but I think we're good now. Good fights in Japan this weekend, I leave tomorrow morning, so come back to the site during the card if you're watching and chat with me then too.
Slay (Los Angeles, CA)
Hey Brett - Great upcoming LW bout between Dunham/Barboza. How far away from a title shot is the winner?
Brett Okamoto (1:08 PM)
Yeah, I liked that fight when I saw it. I'm high on Barboza like everybody else, but I think we're overrating him just a tad. I'm anxious to see how he fares against a well-rounded guy like Dunham. And Dunham was on a roll before Guillard's speed took him out. This shot against Barboza gives him a shot to redeem himself against an athletic guy. I think the winner is fringe top 10.
fricson (far rockaway)
Is Edgar ever going to get the respect he deserves?? and do you think he's GOAT lightwight?
Brett Okamoto (1:09 PM)
I think he's getting a lot of respect. D-Dub ranked him the No. 2 p4p fighter in the world after his last fight. I don't agree with that but I know a few that do. I don't think he's the greatest lightweight of all time quite yet, that's still BJ. But he's got plenty of time to earn that reputation.
Mad Max (Somewhere in the outback)
any chance we'll see soccer kicks and headstomps Saturday???
Brett Okamoto (1:09 PM)
Ha, still illegal. But they will be there in spirit.
okamoto-san, whats the deal with Rampage? One foot out the cage door?
Brett Okamoto (1:10 PM)
We'll see on Saturday. For me, you never want to hear a guy talk about retirement before a fight, ESPECIALLY a guy like Rampage who has always admitted he doesn't like to train in the first place. I could see him coming out with fire, saying no way Bader beats me in Japan. I could also see him saying, let's just put on a show. If I lose, I lose.
What other possible matchups are out there for Gray Maynard besides Guida right now? That fight seems the only logical fight for Maynard next.
Brett Okamoto (1:12 PM)
I agree and I would think that's the fight that gets made but I have heard it might not happen. Other options that make sense? I would have thought Cerrone was possible but he got booked ... Guillard maybe ... nothing makes as much sense as Guida.
Adam R (Albany)
Brett, over/under 2.5 title matches at UFC 150?
Brett Okamoto (1:13 PM)
2.5! Give me the under all day. There weren't even three at UFC 100. Two is possible, but I wouldn't be surprised to see just one.
Do you think Ellenberger fights Hendricks or the winner of Kampman/Alves next?
Brett Okamoto (1:15 PM)
If Hendricks beats Koscheck, then I think he'll fight Hendricks. But you never know, that fight is still a full two months away. Maybe if Alves or Kampmann look really good, Ellenberger will just take that fight. But I would think he'd want to wait because a fight against Hendricks is a clear No. 1 contender fight and the UFC would probably be down for that. If Koscheck wins though ... can't see them matching him with Ellenberger.
Any Chance we see Dana White vs. Floyd Mayweather anytime soon?
Brett Okamoto (1:16 PM)
Let's be real, I kinda thought Mayweather's comments on Lin were a bit out there myself. I'm sure Dana definitely does mean what he said, but I think he also knows if he says what he did on Twitter, it's a headline. So, not a bad marketing move by him to get attention before a UFC ppv.
Which Japanese fighter puts on the best show this Saturday?
Brett Okamoto (1:17 PM)
I think Okami will have a pretty easy time with Tim Boetsch.
The Dude (So Cal)
What's with the recent Mendenhall article claiming that Edgar is the best LW ever, he hasn't had one dominating performance? What gives?
Brett Okamoto (1:18 PM)
I don't agree Edgar is the best LW of all time but I would argue he had a dominant performance in the second BJ fight. He won every round if I'm not mistaken and BJ looked completely out of it by the second.
Brett, the staff picks are almost unanimous for this card - do you think that's bad matchmaking by the UFC or just a fluke thing?
Brett Okamoto (1:19 PM)
Eh, that's going to happen from time to time. I actually haven't looked at the picks for this card yet, we're fairly unanimous on main event?
Strikeforce a step in the right direction for Marquardt to be back in the UFC?
Brett Okamoto (1:21 PM)
No doubt about it. Not sure what the details of his deal are as far as how many fights, but it's certainly a place where can get back in the UFC's good graces. If the time off doesn't hurt him too bad, I think he'll pretty much own Tyron Woodley.
Can you see the winner of Lauzon/Pettis being given the next title shot before the Diaz/Miller figh just because of timing? I think its a given that the winner of Diaz/Miller is a better/more marketable fight. Agree?
Brett Okamoto (1:23 PM)
I was talking about that on a podcast last night and if it plays out that Ben Henderson wins and Anthony Pettis wins, that's probably the next title fight because Ben Henderson vs. Jim Miller (if Miller beats Nate Diaz) just happened and was fairly decisive. If Edgar wins, I think it will set up a title fight between him and Miller. If Lauzon or Diaz wins, then it's all weird.
did you see rampage's previous 2 interviews about Joe Rogan? What are your thoughts to that and your thoughts about Joe Rogan?
Brett Okamoto (1:24 PM)
Just my personal opinion, I really enjoy the way Joe Rogan calls fights. He doesn't miss much. Sometimes he gets a little too excited about a particular hold on the ground or something where you're like, Joe, that's not going anywhere and sure enough the guy escapes like two seconds later. But overall he does a great job, he calls them honestly. Rampage didn't like what he had to say about his particular style. He's entitled to his opinion.
Hendo via KO true or false? Maynard had the chance to finish and didn't. Hendo gets that same chance and finishes it
Brett Okamoto (1:26 PM)
I've got to say false. First of all, I don't think Hendo hits as hard as Maynard. Maynard sits on his punches a lot more than Henderson does. Second, I just don't think Henderson has the boxing Maynard does. Maynard was working day in and day out with a boxing coach, it was almost like he turned from an MMA fighter into a professional boxer in those two fights. Edgar is going to frustrate Henderson on the feet, I think.
If Hughes does take one more fight, Diego Sanchez vs Matt Hughes as farewell fight for Matt Hughes seems to make sense to me. Thoughts?
Brett Okamoto (1:26 PM)
Yeah, I like it.
Biff Tannen (Hill Valley, CA)
Is Sexyama more image than ability at this point? I think Shields is going to destroy him.
Brett Okamoto (1:28 PM)
Maybe. He made a commitment to go down in weight. It's the right decision since he was never a big middleweight and the fact he's cutting that weight at 36 shows me he at least cares about his career enough to make a change that no doubt was a challenge. I agree with you though. Jake Shields is just a better fighter than Akiyama. I think Shields is one of the easiest picks on the main card.
Was taking this fight with Rampage a mistake by Bader or is it time to take the kid gloves off and win a big fight?
Brett Okamoto (1:29 PM)
Not a mistake. You get to a point where you need a signature win and he's at that point. Plus, who knows, if Jackson really does have one foot out the door and is thinking retirement, maybe Bader is getting him at the perfect time.
Is the UFC coming to AC? What type (Fox, FX, big show) of show. This area needs a big card after injuries wrecked havo with 133.
Brett Okamoto (1:30 PM)
Yeah, it's an FX show. June 22.
I would think knocking out Maynard is pretty impressive too...
Brett Okamoto (1:31 PM)
You're talking about Frankie, yes? Impressive for sure. But the question said "dominant." Even though that was maybe the best win of Frankie's career, he didn't necessarily dominate. He probably lost the first round 10-8.
Just read that UFC will be broadcasting the event for free in Japan. Add that to the free showings in South America and the small fees they charge UK fans and the North American fans are really getting the shaft. Don't argue that "UFC is offering more free shows than ever" because the fans in other countries are getting those ones free too!
Brett Okamoto (1:33 PM)
You've got to build a fan base. If the UFC charged those areas for PPV, few would buy them. Once the brand has a larger presence in those countries, the UFC will probably start negotiations with PPV providers.
Who you got for Meisha Tate vs Ronsa Rousey? I think Tate beats her and maybe even to keep Ronda quiet for a bit.
Brett Okamoto (1:34 PM)
Everybody I talk to seems to like Rousey. You guys that know me, know I like to rewatch a bunch of fights before I make my picks but I don't think Tate is out of her league here? She's dealt with submission specialists before.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Why do UFC announcers feel the need to yell out the referee's name 5 seconds after Bruce Buffer announces it? It's so annoying.
Brett Okamoto (1:34 PM)
Haha. I'm not sure.
Ultimate Warrior (Parts Unknown)
If Sexiyama loses to Sheilds, will he get cut or does he get one more?
Brett Okamoto (1:35 PM)
I would think they'd cut him. He's got a name and he likes to scrap so his fights can be entertaining, but he hasn't looked good in his last few fights, he's on a 3-fight losing streak, you could argue 4-fight losing streak depending on how you scored the Belcher fight.
Did you catch the Jon Jones / Rashad Evans Sportsnight roundtable thing. Seems like Suga is in Bones head big time. Bones had to do a "serenity now" thing at a couple points so he didn't have a melt down. This thing is going to be off the chain.
Brett Okamoto (1:37 PM)
Ha, I missed that but does not surprise me at all that Evans could be in his head. Evans is good at the mental game and Jones, as much as he doesn't want to admit it, is very young and very much in tune to how people perceive him. Evans is going to get him riled up all the way up to the fight.
Pettis at -260 seems kinda steep
Brett Okamoto (1:38 PM)
Little higher than what I'd want to lay, but I am pretty confident Pettis gets the win here. He's more athletic. He's capable of keeping Lauzon at range with his kicks. He won't be overmatched on the ground.
Mac (florida) [via mobile]
Should BJ Penn vs Jon Fitch 2 happen next?
Brett Okamoto (1:39 PM)
I know that there was a time BJ really did want that fight. Now? Fitch is kind of a low after getting knocked out so quickly. Not to say BJ is at a high after the Diaz loss but it used to be those two were knocking on the door as No. 1 contenders, now, the fight is far less intriguing. Not to mention, we still don't know if BJ is coming back at all.
Why does SF seem to take forever to announce fights, when they don't even have that many fights that make sense to begin with. You would think that Tim Kennedy vs Luke Rockhold is the next fight and should be made already.
Brett Okamoto (1:40 PM)
Probably just finalizing venues and dates is what the holdup is. Because like you said, some of these fights are obvious, but you have to talk to Showtime, lay out the schedule, secure the venue, etc.
Where you at?
Brett Okamoto (1:40 PM)
If Kongo wins, does he get his rematch with Mir? Personally I would much rather that happen than Cain vs Mir..
Brett Okamoto (1:41 PM)
Really? How come? That Mir/Kongo fight wasn't all that close. Cain/Mir is a good fight. If Mir wins, he's finally back to a title shot -- a place many didn't give him a chance to be back at. And if Cain wins, it's a huge rebound for him off the disappointing title fight. Uphill battle for Mir I think, but he's losing weight, getting back down to a fighting weight of 240. I think that will help in this matchup.
Ryan (El Paso)
Hunt-Kongo FOTN ???
Brett Okamoto (1:41 PM)
Whats next for the Bantamweight class after Faber Cruz III? Do you see any younger fighters gaining ground in a relatively weak division?
Brett Okamoto (1:43 PM)
Yeah, Renan Barao is a guy who obviously comes to mind. Although, as impressive as he was against Scottie Jorgensen, I don't think he's got much on Cruz or Faber as of right now. Michael McDonald is soo young, but they're at a point where they have to give him big fights (Miguel Torres). If everything falls right, he could rewrite the history books as youngest UFC title holder ever.
Do you think we will get a motivated Rampage Jackson vs Bader?
Brett Okamoto (1:44 PM)
I'm honestly 50/50 on that Eric. I would be more confident if he had chosen to keep his training camp in Colorado like he did with Jones. If I had to lean one way or the other, I guess I would say Jackson would rather have an epic fight in Japan than a win if he had to chose.
Where is Antonio Silva been? On his way to UFC?
Brett Okamoto (1:45 PM)
Yes, his next fight will be in UFC, although I don't know against who. How about Matt Mitrione?
When is the SF HW tourney final going to happen? Why such a long delay?
Brett Okamoto (1:45 PM)
The delay is because of Cormier's hand. Honestly, nobody knows when that thing is going to wrap. We ask Dana about it at every show. He has said it will definitely conclude, they have to finish it, but who knows when.
Do you know what the next UFC Primetime will be? We have to get Evans vs. Jones right?
Brett Okamoto (1:46 PM)
I would think that'd be the next one, yeah.
Alexis (Chula Vista, CA)
Why is everyone pushing for Jon Jones to move up to heavyweight? What's the rush? He hasn't cleaned out the division yet, still could be considered green (even though he's been dominant) and maybe there are some possible rematches ahead.
Brett Okamoto (1:48 PM)
I agree. The sport really hasn't seen a young guy rise so quickly and so we're all getting way too excited. He's 24. He hasn't even fully grown into his body yet. There are so many years for him to compete at heavyweight. Let him do his thing at 205. We know he's still got Rashad, then he's got Dan Henderson. Who knows? Maybe Bader will KO Rampage and then KO Thiago Silva or something and that rematch will make sense. Maybe Gustaffson goes on a run. Let's wait and see where 205 stands after these next two fights before seeing Jones at heavy.
Jeff (Salt Lake City)
If Torres wins, shouldn't they set him up for a title shot? He's a well known fighter, popular and an ex-champ. Especially if Faber wins. I've been waiting for that fight for YEARS!
Brett Okamoto (1:49 PM)
You're not the only one who's waited for that fight. More realistic, I could see Torres losing to McDonald and Faber losing Cruz and then making that fight. It might lose a little luster because at that point, they'd both be somewhat far from ever reclaiming a title, but it would still be a fight fans have waited for.
What do they do w/ Shogun next? He's basically fought them all and seems lost in the shuffle at 205? I would say Gustaffson but he's booked already - maybe Rampage if he beats Bader?
Brett Okamoto (1:50 PM)
Yeah, Rampage could make sense. Or Bader could make sense, too. Usually UFC doesn't do winner/loser but I think they might look at that Henderson/Shogun fight as there was no loser. For the record, I have zero, zero, zero interest in Shogun/Machida III at this particular time. I hope it doesn't even get mentioned.
deane 1974 (ga)
if alvarez beats aoki in april and comes to the ufc n octboer when his contract is fulfilled. Who would would you like to see him face? or send him to Strikeforce to provide Melendez some adequate competition? thoughts?
Brett Okamoto (1:52 PM)
Alvarez vs. Melendez would be, as my buddy Jon Anik would say, mint. I would think if he signed with Zuffa he'd be in the UFC though. They wouldn't green light him to the title in that division. He'd have to beat a guy like Jim Miller or Clay Guida or Donald Cerrone ... one of those type guys.
Do you think GSP (if he beats Condit and keeps title) would face Rory McDonald? No doubt in my mind that Rory gets a title shot in 2013.
Brett Okamoto (1:53 PM)
I don't know all too much about their relationship like RIGHT NOW, but I remember talking to Rory before the Mike Pyle fight and it definitely seemed like he'd be willing to fight GSP.
Whats the point of an interim title if Condit doesn't defend it? He is just the number 1 contender, no belt required.
Brett Okamoto (1:54 PM)
Promoting tool. Casual fans aren't bothered by that. They got to see "The 170-pound Interim Championship!!!!" at UFC 143. It is what you said, Carlos is the No. 1 contender. I'm sure he looks at it that way too.
deane 1974 (ga)
who has the best chance against aldo.... Hioki/poirier/jung/BP
Brett Okamoto (1:55 PM)
I'm gonna go none of the above and say Erik Koch. Koch is the most athletic of all of them. I think he's got the speed to compete with Aldo. He's can compete with Aldo on an outside fight because of his kickboxing (would still favor Aldo in that type of fight but Koch is a good outside fighter). Koch is also evolving a lot in between each fight. So is Poirier, but I've really liked what I've seen from Koch. He and Poirier are top two.
Burrito Supreme (Taco Bell)
What's next for Bisping? I actually thought he won the Sonnen fight.
Brett Okamoto (1:57 PM)
I did too. Not sure. He'll get a name though. Maybe that's Weidman's final test before a title shot? I don't think they need to move Weidman that fast, but you think Silva faces Chael, then maybe Munoz if Munoz gets a win in the meantime, Weidman could face Bisping then get a title shot in early 2013?
With such a stacked LW division, why can't they set up the winner of either Lauzon/Pettis or Diaz/Miller vs Gilbert Melendez? I mean NOONE wants to see Melendez vs Josh Thomson again.
Brett Okamoto (1:58 PM)
It makes sense to the rest of us, but behind the scenes you have to talk a guy into going from the UFC to Strikeforce. That's not that sweet of a deal for the UFC guy and what if he wins? Then he's stuck defending the belt. Throw lots of money at him you say ... but why would the UFC throw a ton of money at a guy to go to Strikeforce, which won't really net a huge return?
What's up with the way UFC has been promoting Edgar? The guy puts on two amazing fights back-to-back and they put him on a Japanese card? It's a cool honor but doesn't build him up like a headliner on Fox would. Thoughts?
Brett Okamoto (2:00 PM)
Well, they haven't had any title fights on Fox yet, so that's not really saying anything on Frankie because none of the champs have been on there. They interviewed him on the Fuel show, they are pushing the media tour with these two guys, the marketing for the card has seemed on-par with the rest of them. I don't see them putting him in Japan as a knock at all. They took BJ to Australia.
a lot of my friends are not excited and kind of dismissive of the fly weight division...I personally prefer the lower weight classes and want your take on the fly weight and who you got as the first titleholder? I like Mighty Mouse to win it all...
Brett Okamoto (2:01 PM)
The addition of flyweights is going to be sweet, I just worry about how strong the division will be the first couple years it's in the UFC. As far as who wins the first belt ... I gotta go Benavidez but Mighty Mouse is right there with him. I do expect those two in the finals.
Brett Okamoto (2:03 PM)
Alright guys, we gotta wrap this up. Got a busy day ahead before flying to Japan tomorrow. Like I said at the top, hit us again at ESPN.com during the UFC 144 card where I'll be live blogging and posting your comments from the arena. And talk to me anytime on Twitter @bokamotoESPN. Later.