Chat with Chuck Mindenhall
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, MMA blogger Chuck Mindenhall stops by to chat about the news from the octagon.
Mindenhall began covering MMA for ESPN.com in October 2010. He has worked as a features writer for FIGHT! Magazine, and contributed to many other publications, such as the LA Times, Village Voice and LA Weekly.
Send your questions now and join Mindenhall Friday at 4 p.m. ET!
Chuck Mindenhall (4:00 PM)
Alright, let's get this thing rolling. News trickling in today of Tim Boetsch will fight Chris Weidman at UFC 155. Plus, looks like Sara McCann is fighting Liz Carmouche. Plenty of other stuff to hit on. What's on your minds?
Marc (Chicago, IL)
Would you train for and fight in an amateur MMA fight, if ESPN wanted you to do it for a story (and would pay for everything)? What weight class would you fight in?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:02 PM)
Right out of the gate I'm being made to suffer. But yes, I'd do this. I walk around at 200 pounds (6-foot-2), so making 185 would be feasible. There have been others who've turned this trick before, though....writers turned fighters.
Chuck, good to be chatting again! So who you got in a 180 lb superfight? Assuming you select Anderson, what kind of chance do you give GSP?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:03 PM)
I would give the nod to Silva, but it's a little more compelling at the catchweight. GSP is so good at picking apart opponent's weaknesses, and I'd have to think he would look to take things to the ground. He's so strong and athletic and explosive, who's to say he couldn't do it?
Does fighting Boetsch line Weidman up for the next title shot (assuming he wins)?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:04 PM)
I would think so, Matt. Weidman had already made a case for fighting for a title by beating a No. 1 contender-type in Munoz (and doing it handily). Boetsch beat Lombard, who might have drawn Silva next if he'd done what was expected of him. Whoever wins should get a title shot.
Did you see Renzo Gracie live tweeting his street fight last night?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:06 PM)
I saw it this morning. There was a sort of surreal vibe to that whole thing, and I am still unsure how all that would work. Taking photos and tweeting while being stalked and messed with by totalitarian street thugs. What a world we live in.
Marc (Chicago, IL)
UFC 152 looks like a great card on paper... Which fight are you most excited for?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:07 PM)
Any of those top three fights are good, obviously, with Stann and Bisping standing out to me. But I think the Cub Swanson/Charles Oliveira fight could be pretty insane. Swanson is Swanson; Oliveira is still packing a lot of potential, and is swift. Like the idea of that one.
Whats Jon Jones next big target?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:08 PM)
In terms of fighting, or in general? Fighting he's got Vitor then it gets mysterious. In general, nobody is safe right now.
Given the fact that Vitor has been fighting at 185, do you think if he loses to JBJ he'll go back to 185? Or do you think he's going to stay at 205?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:09 PM)
I think he'll return to 185 for sure with a loss. He was closing in stealthily towards A. Silva with that win against Anthony Johnson. He wants that rematch. And it'll be hard to punish him for a loss out of division, especially when filling in in a pinch.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:10 PM)
I don't think they were exactly thrilled with what they saw out of Lombard, but there's still plenty of expectation/hype around him. I still think he draws Munoz next.
What upcoming fights are you most looking forward (including non-zuffa fights)? Top 3?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:12 PM)
Hmmm...let's see. I would go with Frankie Edgar and Aldo at UFC 153. Also Condit/GSP. Love watching Matt Brown fight, so will take Brown/Swick up there too, but that whole UFC on FOX in December is shaping up to be big. Lots of good fights in the 'Bers.
frank (San Diego)
Give me your predicted finish of the AFC West this year. Seems every team has improved.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:13 PM)
I am saying it'll be Denver (11-5), San Diego (11-5), Kansas City (8-8) and Oakland (7-9).
Chuck, I got my first UFC event in Denver at 150, now strikeforce is coming to my city! Good times. Is there anyone else on the card that should make me get there for the prelims, or for that fact anything other then the main and co main? I dont count sara mcmann either.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:15 PM)
Haven't heard about too many other fight announcements on that card, but I am liking the way it's shaping up. Carmouche/McCann is on there. That Mir/Cormier fight will tell us if our expectations on Cormier are founded (they are). Rockhold defends. Glad it's headed to your home state, Tyler.
How long before Marquardt joins the UFC's welterweight division? I think he would already be a top contender! A fight vs Erick Silva to start would be interesting.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:17 PM)
Well, he just won the Strikeforce belt, so that's where he'll be for a while. I think things have been forgiven (mostly) for the whole Pittsburgh TRT thing. He'll be in Strikeforce until his contract is up or the thing folds. How good did he look against Woodley, though? Elbow, elbow, uppercut, boom.
joe, new haven [via mobile]
I think its funny that everyone said frankie edgar was too small to fight at 155 and that he needed to drop to 145 and now that he did his first fight at 145 he will be the smaller man! I think the only way he wins this fight is if it goes five and aldo gases. Who do you have and do you think if he loses will there be people saying he should go to even a lighter weight class?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:19 PM)
Yeah, Edgar is moving down to a division where most of the guys are his size or a little bigger (still). The speed that was a novelty at lightweight will be matched a little more at 145, particularly with Aldo. Bottom line is, if he can win any of the first three rounds and make it into the championship rounds, you've got to like his chances. Aldo has shown a tendency to fade. Edgar? No. Unless he has a bad weight cut, which is doubtful, too.
Tyler (Mission Viejo)
Who will be a champion first -- Carlos Condit or Michael McDonald?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:21 PM)
Tough one, and I guess we are treating Condit's interim belt as a mirage here. But I'll go with McDonald. I think he could end up with a shot against Renan Barao, and he'd have a chance to get the interim title, too....and I think by the time he got around to Cruz, he might be more than a match for him.
Chad_S15 (Chicago, IL)
Hypothetically speaking, if BJ Penn defeats Rory MacDonald convincingly at UFC on Fox 5, could you see him fight in a title eliminator against Hendricks/Kampmann winner, if GSP fights the Spider??? Great work as always!
Chuck Mindenhall (4:22 PM)
If Penn beats MacDonald, which only .04 of the population thinks is possible (mostly in Hilo), he would be thrust back up into title contention just like that. I could see him fighting the Hendrick/Kampmann winner. These are wild hypotheticals, though.
The interim belt is a mirage when you don't defend it
Chuck Mindenhall (4:22 PM)
Kris (Los Angeles)
Who's next for Nate Marquardt?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:23 PM)
Not sure yet. It's too bad Paul Daley jumped ship. Could have settled that little feud they had brewing.
Brad (Long Beach)
Now that Frank Mir and Cormier has a date, does that make November 3 the day Mir becomes irrelevant? No way he beats Cormier.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:25 PM)
That might be one way to look at it. I don't like Mir's chances in this fight, not the way Cormier looked against Barnett. I think Cormier, for as late of a start as he got in his MMA career, is just beginning to put it all together. Mir will be his next showcase. And that's very generous of Mir to volunteer for the job.
Does Vitor have any shot here against Jones? I know people want to believe he does, but I can't see it. And it seems dumb to buy the PPV if it plays out as one-sided as I think it will.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:26 PM)
There are actually a few good fights on the main card other than that one, but I understand what you're saying. Sure, Belfort's got a chance. He has the old puncher's chance, which becomes regarded like a Hail Mary in football. But who better to land a Hail Mary than Belfort, who is in collusion with the Maker?
I know you like Joseph Benavidez from what you were saying on MMA Live, but I am predicting Mighty Mouse beats him and wins the belt in a couple of weeks. Heard it hear first!
Chuck Mindenhall (4:28 PM)
You are on record, Jax. Don't get me wrong; Demetrious Johnson is a gamer. Love his wrestling, his quicks, his movement. Johnson gave Cruz some trouble in their fight. But I think Benavidez will prove to much in the end, and get the W.
Sean (Palo Alto)
Does Strikeforce exist in 2013, yes or no.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:29 PM)
If I had to guess, I'd say no. But things change so rapidly in this sport. I do know that Showtime wants to keep with MMA going forward, so in what form that is remains to be seen. Wouldn't be surprised if it was something other than Strikeforce, though.
Is this facebook?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:30 PM)
It's whatever you want it to be, grandma. You know that.
Respect jbj decision to turn down sonnen fight.... but to refer to yourself as business partners with d white... what an EGO
Chuck Mindenhall (4:30 PM)
He is a brand now. And he regards himself as a brand. Ego is part of the brand.
Will Rory MacDonald ever fight GSP in your opinion? I know they say they won't, but it seems inevitable if Rory continues to win.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:33 PM)
It hinges on a lot of factors. Will GSP still be a welterweight? Will he retire? Those types of things. The welterweight division is pretty stacked right now, and MacDonald is at least two fights away from legit discussion. If he beats Penn, he'll need to beat a top five guy. By that time, GSP might already be booked in a superfight with Silva. Who knows.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:33 PM)
My gut feeling is that MacDonald would fight him if it was what had to be done. That dude is focused.
Cormier opponent if he beats Mir?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:34 PM)
If it's not the JDS/Velasquez winner (and only half of that equation would he be interested in fighting), it could be Overeem. The wild card? A match with Jon Jones.
Why is Dana keep on saying that the GSP Vs Silva is the fight that fans want to see the most? Maybe that was true 3 years ago. Today the fight that people want to see is Silva vs Jones.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:36 PM)
Heard that a lot of late. It's true that Jones/Silva might have more appeal than GSP/Silva. But then again, should it? Neither guy has lost in the last three years. Both have been dominant. GSP has been out of the spotlight with his injury, but if he whips Condit maybe the chorus swells back up a little for that superfight. As for my druthers? I'd take Jones/Silva.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:36 PM)
But for those who think that Silva would be too much for GSP, the same could be said for Jones being too much for Silva.
What's up with Ninja missing all of his chats?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:37 PM)
Brett been missing some chats? I know he just got married, so that might have something to do with it. He's also been traveling a lot.
Why wasn't Jacare given a Rockhold rematch? Seems a lot more appropriate than Larkin. Any chance we see Rockhold transition to the big show? Or are they biding time with another shot at Jacare down the line?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:38 PM)
Not sure of the specifics, but I thought Jacare/Rockhold II was a slam dunk. Makes me think something's up. Just what it is? Not sure. Larkin/Rockhold isn't a bad consolation fight, though. Still has some intrigue for me.
Jim Bob (the Counter)
Got any picks for us in football? NCAA or NFL
Chuck Mindenhall (4:39 PM)
I know Todd Grisham likes Atlanta at Kansas City. I am biased, it's true, but the Broncos -2 at home to the Steelers, in prime time, with Manning at QB? My pen is circling that game in black ink.
Federer lost and I am sad
Chuck Mindenhall (4:39 PM)
It's a shame.
Ricky D (Atlanta)
Chuck, how did you get saddled with the "five guys with dropping stocks" in that MMA Live segment, with Pat Miletich getting the "five guys on the rise"??? Should have split those up!
Chuck Mindenhall (4:41 PM)
In retrospect, I should have brought that up. Pat gets to trumpet up all the guys who are on the upswing, while I look like the villain. However, I stand by the guys I named. Their stocks are definitely down (Faber, Mir, Lombard, Rampage)
So Strikeforce signs Sarah McMann. Does that mean she fights Rousey right away while we wait on Cyborg?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:42 PM)
That was the speculation, but McCann is fighting Liz Carmouche it looks like. The fight will happen in OKC on Nov. 3. Carmouche is a great test for McCann. We'll find out with a quickness if she's ready for the likes of Rousey.
Buy or sell Chris Cariaso as a future flyweight champion?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:43 PM)
I'm going to sell, but he's got the potential to end up in a title fight soon. He's definitely talented, but I think Benavidez would beat him. Sign me on for that bout being made in the future though.
Not a fan of the guy personally but don't you think Bisping is getting screwed over if Boetsch or Weidman get a shot? Thought for sure it would be Weidman vs. winner of Bisping-Stann. Of course, that's if this super fight doesn't go down.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:45 PM)
What would MMA be if we weren't screwing Michael Bisping of a title shot? But seriously, that came to mind for me as well. If Bisping beats Stann, not sure where that places him. Maybe if GSP/Silva isn't made, it'll be Bisping/Silva.
Wolf (San Antonio)
Who has the worst tattoo in MMA? I'll say K-Sos in general. Dude looks like he did some time and passed it all with in a cell-mates parlor.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:47 PM)
He looks more like a lab experiment to me, does K-Sos. One of the more intimidating looking fighters. Worst tattoos...Babalu always looks a little dirty. I'd say the best is Ian Loveland's. That trout on his back sprung to life on that caddis.
Haha, Wolf. I would have to say Belcher's Johnny Cash tattoo is horrible. Or maybe just the placement of it.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:48 PM)
That's up there, too. If only because Cash is bloated and red and distorted on that arm, and it's head to tell if it's Cash, Liberace or Roger Clemens.
Worst tattoo...gotta be Maynard's Tramp Stamp!
any guy with a tramp stamp tat is the worst tat ever.
Is Jimy Hettes can beat Marcus Brimage, he'll have won three in a row. I know that's not all that telling, but this kid seems like he's the real deal. Is he in your top ten with another convincing win?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:50 PM)
He'd be getting up there pretty quick. That 30-25 beatdown of Nam Phan was impressive. It could have easily been 30-23 and I'd have thought it fine, if they ever dished 10-7 rounds ("rare as a pound of hummingbird tongue," says Doc Hamilton of 10-7 rounds). He's so young, and he's talented. I talked to Hettes after that fight and he had no idea if he beat Phan afterwards. He said he had to ask his corner, "do you think I got it?" Yeah, he got it. I like him big against Brimage.
Broncos/Steelers this weekend. I don't need to ask you who you got, but just give me your predicted final score.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:51 PM)
I'll say 31-27 Broncos.
Joey (Midland TX)
Hey Chuck! Very excited for the Edgar-Aldo fight, personally I feel like Aldo will win this fight convincingly enough to avoid the rematch debacle Edgar always finds himself in. What then? Does Frankie try to drop again? Hope to climb the ladder to Aldo again? Pray Bendo loses the belt and cant get it back? Pickle dont ya think?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:52 PM)
Yeah, if Edgar loses (convincingly) he'll be in two different holding patterns for the belt. My guess is, if he's going to be off limits for title shots, he might as well go back to 155 pounds where he feels at home and had such great success. I don't think he'd hang around 145 pounds if he loses. And I don't think he's interesting in 135 pounds.
mike (Bismarck, ND) [via mobile]
Is the Minneapolis show worth a 7 hour drive? My son used to work for a local MMA promotion, and we've done some work at casino shows. Is it worth going to see how THE biggest company has things go down?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:55 PM)
The card has definitely benefited from the cancellation of UFC 151. Now Ellenberger/Hieron is on the card, which is a good scrap. Any time that little John Dodson is on a card it's fun. Said it before: He's like watching the sphere of death guys on their motorcycles, the way he bounced around the cage. I think it's worth attending. (But I love live fights).
LarrySandersJoe (Newark-on-Trent, UK)
Hi Chuck. Do you think Dana's told JBJ/Jackson to train for Toronto with Sonnen in mind, in the event of Vitor picking up a knock?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:56 PM)
No. I think Dana said "you're fighting Machida in Toronto and that's that." And then, 12 hours later, said "you're fighting Vitor Belfort in Toronto and that's that." End of interview.
Now that Machida appears to have lost his spot for a title, who does he fight next?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:57 PM)
Wonder if he reopens the idea of middleweight? He was toying with it before he was thrust into title contention in that last FOX card. They could also saddle him with Henderson when he comes back, and make it a title contender. So much wait and see here.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:58 PM)
Haha. Yeah, why did Belcher go with the mid-1970s Elvis?
Dan (Hopkinton, MA)
Is Edgar physically capable to drop down to bantam or fly? Seems like he's still smaller than most of the featherweights.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:59 PM)
I think he could make bantamweight (there are guys who cut that much weight to fight at 135), but he doesn't want to. Don't think he could make flyweight unless he has a secret yogi power of self-reduction in his arsenal.
Adam (Long Beach)
If Bisping wins that would be a perfect fight to make to fill the gap between a potential GSP v Silva fight. Make Bisping v Silva in December and give the fans another Highlight KO to add to Silva's collection.
Chuck Mindenhall (5:00 PM)
A lot to play out, but Bisping would have his best case for a title shot...and he has a name, something that was coveting in Silva's camp when agreeing on an opponent.
James ((Carlisle PA))
Chuck, if (and in MMA it is always a big if) the Silva vs. St Pierre fight occurs at cowboys stadium how will they fill out the card? With GSP and Silva being a catchweight could they put title fights on the card also? IT would go against UFC policy.
Chuck Mindenhall (5:02 PM)
For them to hold an event at Dallas Cowboy's Stadium, with that roof open for God to peek in too, they'd have to fortify that main card pretty damn good. So it would be Silva/GSP, and then probably a title fight, and Fedor/Lesnar (wishful thinking), and whatever else they could add that would bolster its intrigue beyond reason.
Buzz (New York)
Chuck, nice work on MMA Live. I've really enjoyed your articles on ESPN, and was wondering who your influences are? Who are you favorite MMA writers?
Chuck Mindenhall (5:04 PM)
Thanks for that, Buzz. I can tell you that I read a lot of the A.J. Liebling's of the world, the H.L. Mencken's and Mark Kram's and all those guys. Loved how they treated the written word.
Is there a definitive date for the Cerrone-Pettis fight? Pretty pumped for that. Early leanings?
Chuck Mindenhall (5:07 PM)
No date yet, that I know of. My early leaning would be towards Cerrone. Dude is on that warpath. But I could change my mind once I really think about it. Pettis brings it, and Cerrone has that streak of Nick Diaz in him where he says "pick your poison." Guillard just about cashed in on that proposal.
Is Matt Hamill retired? I was sure he was, but I thought I saw his name on an upcoming card.
Chuck Mindenhall (5:08 PM)
He's coming out of retirement and facing Igor Vlady Matyushenko. Guess he decided it was all premature. Hopefully the time away helped him.
Chuck Mindenhall (5:09 PM)
Alright guys, I've got to get out of here. Thanks for stopping in, and we'll do it again next week. As always, feel free to hit me on Twitter, @ChuckMindenhall.