Chat with Josh Gross
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com mixed martial arts writer Josh Gross stops by to chat about the news from the octagon.
Gross has covered MMA since 2000 and hosts ESPN's "Gross Point Blank" podcast.
Send your questions now and join Gross Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Josh Gross (1:01 PM)
Hey MMA fans, we're less than two weeks away from a great free UFC card on Fox. You feeling anything for Henderson-Diaz? How about the other fights? What's your most anticipated bout of December, because there are a ton of great ones. Also, since the end of the year is quickly approaching, what are some of your favorites moments of 2012? Other than that, hit me with whatever.
Hi - I just became an MMA fan recently, and I know very little about the landscape. What are the top 3 things I need to know about MMA right now? Thanks!
Josh Gross (1:07 PM)
First question in queue is a fun one. I live in this MMA bubble so it's difficult to answer what a newbie should focus on. But I'll give it a try. I'd suggest paying attention to the name fighters at first. MMA is a wide universe, many different promotions around the world putting fights on TV. Obviously UFC is the most respected and prominent, but there are others that have fighters worth watching. Know that some guys make a lot of money, but most don't, they toil. Also, pay attention to the action itself. It's dynamic and interesting and the most compelling reason to watch MMA to begin with. Hope I answered. If anyone has thoughts, chime in.
Benson wins by power and speed. Nobody could keep up with Frankie except somebody like Benson. Diaz doesnt have that speed. Benson uses the strength advantage, stays out of danger, and pounds out diaz or wins UD. Am I wrong?
Josh Gross (1:08 PM)
I'm with you. Took me a while to get there, but I'm picking Henderson for all the reasons you stated.
Is Anderson Silva the GOAT? I put him over Fedor due to the competition they faced in their entire careers
Josh Gross (1:10 PM)
For now, yes. Silva seals it if he beats GSP and Jones. Otherwise nothing's settled -- if you care.
Ian Dean (London, England)
MLS Cup pick for this weekend?
Josh Gross (1:11 PM)
Have to go with the home team, Galaxy.
GSP vs Silva should happen next year. Can't wait. Henricks could fight for the interim title
Josh Gross (1:11 PM)
Enough interim titles. GSP vs. Silva or Hendricks is fine by me.
Tim (North Olmsted)
Has there been any word on Josh Barnett? Is he coming to the UFC? We need to see him against Mir.
Josh Gross (1:13 PM)
Would like to see him against a few guys, including Mir. He's in limbo like the promotion he fights for. Barnett's an interesting case. He's a promotable heavyweight and there's not many. Would the UFC really let him walk?
@FakeJoeSilva (Parts Unknown)
Will the UFC splash the necessary cash to bring Eddie Alvarez into the fold, considering how disappointing Lombard's debut was? Will they be more thrifty?
Josh Gross (1:16 PM)
They're talking to Alvarez and it doesn't sound like there'll be much of a bidding war with Bellator. When I spoke to Bjorn Rebney he sounded like he knew Alvarez wasn't sticking around. Never say never, but at a minimum that can't help Alvarez's asking price. Eddie's a very good lightweight, exciting, dangerous but he's not a champion like Lombard. He won't get as much.
What chance do you give BJ, all the reports are he's in amazing shape and incredibly focused?
Josh Gross (1:19 PM)
BJ can win early. He brings more than enough power and speed to crack MacDonald. But I'm thinking he'll have to wrestle with Rory and that'll slow him down as the fight moves into the 2nd and 3rd. Being generous I'd say he finds a way to win 4 out of 10 times.
Chad S (Chicago, Il)
Josh, thanks for doing the chat. My question to you is can BJ really pull this off? It seems his training is going unbelievable, he is in incredible shape and the fire and hunger appears to be back.
Josh Gross (1:21 PM)
We've heard that sort of stuff before, but he's back with an old trainer and sounds very comfortable with where he's at as a person. Not so much as a fighter, though. It's interesting to hear him talk about that, how he's no longer regarded as an elite fighter and it bothers him.
Jeff (Southgate, MI)
With GSP's recent comments, is this superfight off?
Josh Gross (1:25 PM)
Was it ever on? Dana White made promises about Silva-GSP going all the way back to 2008 and here we are.
Josh Gross (1:26 PM)
I think it will happen, but the fighters have leverage and they seem to be using it.
Did BJ Penn accidentally make a case yesterday for GSP to not fight Silva? He said he wanted to come back to the fight game cause "when people talk about the greats his name isn't mentioned" but isn't that partially because we saw him move up in weight and lose twice to GSP. He never focused on his best weight class (I understand you could say that arguably he just never focused) and was never able to build the same kind of legacy as Georges and Anderson. What if Georges goes up to 177 loses, the weight does affect him and then he loses his title defence. Maybe I'm reaching a bit here (especially considering their divergent attitudes towards work ethic) but that comment made me view BJ as a cautionary tale for GSP. Thoughts?
Josh Gross (1:29 PM)
Interesting question Patrick. I always criticized Penn for jumping all over the place. But that's how he wanted to do it and thus it colors his legacy. All the talk about him being the best lightweight of all time won't hold up. GSP, because he remained at 170 and dominated, will likely remain the sport's best welterweight in the minds of most. I don't think a move to 177 hurts him in that regard. Even if he gets destroyed by Anderson, so what. He's the smaller guy and Anderson does that to everyone. I think if Silva beats GSP he would face enormous pressure to fight Jones.
GOAT questions suck.
Does Johnny Hendrick bring anything to the GSP fight that Koscheck didn't?
Josh Gross (1:31 PM)
He's stronger and a better wrestler. Plus he hits harder than Koscheck.
WHAT WAYS DO YOU SEE BJ PENN BEING ABLE TO PULL OFF A WIN AGAINST RORY? NOT ALOT OF THINGS BJ DOES BETTER THAN RORY...
Alexis (Chula Vista, CA)
Hey Josh, thanks for doing chat today. I can't see Cain taking JDS down (mainly because of his size and take down defense) and can't see him outstriking him either. I think it'll play out almost the same as their first fight. Thoughts?
Josh Gross (1:33 PM)
I'm thinking we'll get to see a fight this time. (Well, more like hoping.) Velasquez really injured his knee 10 days before the fight, that's a huge factor. But JDS is the man for a reason and if he stops Cain's takedowns he wins.
Michael Vowels (Richland, WA)
It seem's like a sort of new generation is coming through and the old generation is leaving. The BJ Penn's, Wanderlei Silva's, Chuck Lidell's Rich Franklin's and Matt Hughes's of the world are gone or seemingly on their way out(with the exception of Silva and GSP holdin it down for the old fella's). That being said, the new generation seems to be surfacing, or has surfaced. Will the Jon Jones's, Jose Aldo's, and Benson Henderson's of the world have the same, less, or equal impact as the huge name guys like Lidell and Hughes?
Josh Gross (1:38 PM)
Silva's 37 so I'll give you that, but GSP is only 31. I don't know how to speculate on Jones' impact. Do you see anyone beating him at 205? What if he puts together a GSP type run at 205, then moves to heavyweight? With his marketability and deals already in place, he stands to be MMA's first true American star. If that happens it should correlate to a huge impact on the sport, more than any of the previous generation could deliver on their own. As for Henderson, Aldo, Cruz, Johnson, JDS or anyone else, their maturity as fighters (skills and all) will inspire the next generation.
What's your take on Silva calling out the smaller fighter?
Josh Gross (1:39 PM)
Eh, no biggie. Silva started his career at 167. He was supposed to enter the UFC as a welterweight and fight Matt Hughes.
Ben should see if he can get his hands on those UFC unleashed packages that spike used to run or find old cards online. When I got into MMA a few years ago I watched a ton of those and it gave me a much wider breadth of knowledge regarding techniques and the cast of characters fighting.
Wasn't Koscheck a heavy handed guy who had very good wrestling too? Why is Hendricks a threat to GSP?
Josh Gross (1:40 PM)
Weird as it sounds, confidence. Hendricks is flying high. Very dangerous right now.
Do you want GSP vs Diaz or GSP vs Hendricks if Silva fight doesn't happen? I think GSP wants to fight Diaz badly but he may need a win to get a shot.
Josh Gross (1:41 PM)
Hendericks deserves it over Diaz, who lost his last fight then was suspended. I bet you're right in GSP preferring Diaz -- it's a more bankable fight (though GSP is the PPV King for UFC), and he might think it's a tad easier.
Alexis (Chula Vista, CA)
If Penn pulls out the upset on McDonald, where would that place him? Rematch vs Diaz?(please, no) penn vs Hendricks?
Josh Gross (1:44 PM)
In the proverbial mix. Don't like the Diaz rematch. Hendricks is a top contender. There's many options at 170. How about Nate Marquardt coming over as Strikeforce champion?
Jeff (In Class)
who do you see being nick diaz's first opponent off suspension
Josh Gross (1:46 PM)
Again, many directions to go with this one. But Diaz is technically coming off a loss. Joe Silva likes to match guys W vs. W or L vs. L. How's this sound: Nick Diaz vs. Martin Kampmann? Or Diaz vs. Koscheck?
It DOES feel like about 15 years since BJ was an automatic on any P4P list.
I for one am glad to hear GSP talking the way he is, he is right, he has a division FULL of very tough contenders and fan friendly match ups, .......
Mike (Los Angeles)
GSP has more to lose than Silva, plus GSP has plenty of contenders in his division, not his fault Silva's sucks. Also, why isn't Silva catching heat for not fighting Jon Jones (a fairer fight than Silva GSP)?
Josh Gross (1:48 PM)
Silva-GSP has been talked about for at least four years. Jones is new to the discussion. Hey, I'd love to see Spider-Bones
Old Yeller (California)
Josh, don't you think the atmosphere for a Silva-GSP superfight would be better in Canada or Brazil? Yes, stadium's aren't as big but the crowd would be much more into it, plus in Dallas neither of them are even from the USA.
Josh Gross (1:50 PM)
I'd imagine Rio or Montreal would be nuts. But this sort of thing needs neutral grounds, and the novelty of Cowboys Stadium would create an amazing atmosphere. I guarantee everyone in the building would watch the monitor and not the cage.
Dean (Prince George, B.C.)
Hi Josh. I often read that GSP is too small and would be ineffective against Silva, but I would put GSP's wrestling up against Chael's. In fact, If Chael and GSP fought, wouldn't GSP have to be considered the favourite?
Josh Gross (1:51 PM)
St-Pierre is faster and more athletic than Sonnen. I think he can take Silva down, and his top game is dynamic enough to chip away at Anderson.
Do you agree that GSP has about a zero percent chance to win against Silva? Why do that fight if the masses scream it's unfair and no shot of one fighter winning?
Josh Gross (1:52 PM)
Silva's the favorite, no doubt. You're doing a disservice to GSP though.
Any word on when Dominick Cruz will be back and will Barao defend the Interim title against McDonald before then?
Josh Gross (1:54 PM)
Still on the recovery road. There's no confirmed news on Barao and McDonald but it's being discussed for the interim belt. You lose an excellent contender but Barao-McDonald stacks up as a great fight.
Are you thinking shogun is in over his head like almost everyone else is thinking. I see it the same as you do with BJ if he can catch the mauler early he has a chance
Josh Gross (1:55 PM)
I don't know. Gustafsson could be the real deal. Rua's the right guy to find out against. I picked Shogun.
I'm trying to recall my favorite fights of the year but keep thinking of Lauzon vs. Varner. 3 great rounds of fighting there.
Does Dana put Rousey v Tate/McCann in Main Event of UFC 157? (w/co headliner Machida v Henderson) or does he put her in as the headliner of a FX or Fuel show?
Josh Gross (1:57 PM)
Guessing here but I'd say PPV. Putting it in the main event would play up the novelty of women in the UFC for the first time and garner interest.
Josh Gross (1:57 PM)
We're almost an hour in. Thanks for all the questions.
Isn't GSP a bigger threat to Silva than Weidman or Bisping? And obviously Silva is to GSP than any other WW contender. SO why are so many people down on this matchup and would rather see more 1 sided dominations by the 2?
Jose R (Orlando, FL)
win or lose do you see BJ Penn coming back to 155, I can see him being competitive but not sure if he would do well against Bendo.
Josh Gross (1:58 PM)
No, Penn is done with 155.
dont get all the talk re anderson being the GOAT guy is scared to fight young challengers in his on division - see chris weidman. if you are the best ever you dont dodge guys like anderson does
Pettis and Cerrone...who you got (I'm leaning Pettis)?
Josh Gross (1:59 PM)
Leaning Pettis too. He seems a step quicker; hair-trigger on everything.
what would BJ Penn have become if he had GSP 's work,training,eating habits? Possibly still a reigning champ.......
LarrySandersJoe (Newark, UK)
Hi Josh. Thing that struck me in those Countdown to UFC154 shows was how big certain competitors (Cerrone for example) are in between fights. Have you been made privy as to how they manage to lose the KGs in the run-up to fight week? Saunas, laxatives, diuretics, maybe?
Jeff (Sothgate, MI)
im sick of people saying theres contenders in welterweight and middleweight...johny hendricks has a left hand and some wrestling, how is that a threat to gsp? nick diaz is relentless, but gsp will take him down and nicks bjj isnt better then gsp's wrestling....obviously no one can strike with anderson silva, so if he can stop chaels takedowns..he can stop weidmans takedowns.....and michael bisping? haha.....what im saying is, this superfight needs to happen
What is SF going to do with the OKC card now that two of the best fights on their "last hurrah super card" are off?
Josh Gross (2:03 PM)
Unclear and unfair. That's twice OKC fans have been toyed with.
Jose R (Orlando, FL)
if JDS beats Cain and Overeem beats Bigfoot, how do you see JDS vs. Overeem playing out? If Overeem KO's JDS would that not make him the most decorated HW champion ( Strikeforce, UFC, DREAM? or whatever Japanes title he has and K-1 )
Josh Gross (2:05 PM)
If Overeem wins the UFC title he would have quite the belt collection.
Tell that new guy to watch the next UFC Primetime, and check which top twn guys in any division are fighting on each of the next couple UFC cards and watch those fights, that's how I got hooked...
CJ (Los Angeles)
Early thoughts on Hendo-Machida?
Josh Gross (2:07 PM)
Early thoughts ... Jones-Sonnen is stupid and Henderson got screwed. So Hendo faces about as tricky a test as you can get at 205 in Machida. I think it's an awful style match for Hendo.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Jon Jones vs Chuck Liddell (in his prime)? Jones prob wins, but at least Chuck would go after him and if Chuck ever connected...
Josh Gross (2:07 PM)
Now you're talking.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Biggest tip I could give to Ben (NJ): don't try and compare MMA to boxing, they're completely different sports and don't get "bored" when a fight isn't a standup contest, grappling and BJJ can be just as entertaining.
Like I tweeted you yesterday, BJ vs Rory should have been the Main Event. Casual and Hardcore fans care about that fight more than any of them. I know you can't because there is a title fight but the event should have been promoted differently
Josh Gross (2:08 PM)
Haven't seen a question yet about Henderson-Diaz.
John (Austin, TX)
Hi Josh, The Ultimate Fighter aside, does the UFC have to do more when it comes to developing new talents? Or can they replenish the cupboard by simply getting talent from outside organizations when the time is right?
Josh Gross (2:11 PM)
There's so much competition for young talent these days for the UFC to rely on simply signing the best up and comers. Bellator does a great job with that. You also have other upstart organizations siphoning off youngsters. UFC will poach names from other promoters once in a while, but they don't have much room for new fighters on the roster. It's bloated and there's always a constant battle with getting guys their fights before a contract breaches.
Everytime GSP, JBJ, and Silva fight, people try and find ANY reason to pick the underdog so they can look smart. Fact of the matter is, if GSP and Hendricks fought 20 times, I'd say Hendricks maybe catches him once. Georges is probably the smartest and most disciplined fight in the UFC. He'd come up with a game plan, execute it, and win. Plain and simple.
Doesn't Rory deserve title shot if he beats Penn? Do we see Hendricks/McDonald if GSP fights Silva?
Josh Gross (2:13 PM)
Slow down. MacDonald doesn't deserve a title shot for beating Penn.
Did you see Nate Diaz on Inside MMA this week? What a terrible interview that guy is!
Josh Gross (2:13 PM)
At least he shows up.
Whats the big deal with the size differential between GSP and Silva? If I remember right, Hendo schooled Fedor and there was a much bigger weight difference.
Josh Gross (2:14 PM)
How times have changed.
I really hope BJ smashes Rory,I thought Rory was a young hungry humble dude but everytime he opens his mouth he sounds like a arogant kid in need of a beating
Biggest tip I would give to anyone who only enjoys the stand up and boo's the ground game is go check out a BJJ class,once u have an idea of whats actually going on on the ground it changes ur perspective makes it more entertaining
Hi Josh, my question is on athleticism in the UFC. I was thinking earlieron how much technique can overcome athletic ability before technique is overwhelmed.Do you think it's fair to say Brock Lesnar is the most athletic fighter in UFChistory? I mean athletic ability in terms of a combination ofstrength, size and speed.I know Couture said Vitor was the strongest guy he fought, but I'm not sureif Vitor is the most athletic.Thank you.
Josh Gross (2:17 PM)
Lesnar was a freak. There's a more to athleticism than size, strength and speed. Jones is gifted. So is Anderson Silva and GSP.
mayhem (parts unknown)
josh gross is stupid because tyler from oklahoma definitely asked a question about henderson-diaz...
Josh Gross (2:19 PM)
This is correct.
What would be the biggest upset win: Diaz, Penn, or Shogun?
Josh Gross (2:20 PM)
In terms of perception, Penn. I don't know the gambling lines, but Bendo-Diaz and Shogun-Gustafsson should be competitive.
chris bassett va [via mobile]
Hi josh thanks for chat with so many close fights i think take downs count to much i would also stop the kick to the kneecap? what rule u change thanks!
Josh Gross (2:22 PM)
Always said I wanted to see knees to the head on the ground.
What is going on with Ronda Rousey's first fight? Seems that with Cyborg not coming, UFC has no idea what to do? Any chance they have Rousey vs. Tate for The Ultimate Figther Female edition?
Josh Gross (2:23 PM)
Rousey vs. Sara McMann maybe, but it's too soon for McMann. A TUF female version would shake up the show.
If Rory wins, who do you see him fighting next? Diaz? Condit? Both of them are coming off losses, so I don't know if either would work.
Josh Gross (2:24 PM)
MacDonald vs. Demian Maia/Jon Fitch winner.
Kevin (Mile High)
To Matt in NJ BJ is the biggest dog at +235, Shogun 180, andlastly Diaz 130
Josh Gross (2:25 PM)
Filling in for Okamoto, needed a gambling reference. Thanks.
Does Bendo really need to finish this fight to start attracting more fans? I was a big supporter from his WEC days but that last Frankie fight was a bummer. He wasn't relentless like before
Josh Gross (2:26 PM)
First, Frankie Edgar is not easy to fight. About Henderson, a finish would help but it's not necessary. I expect a back-and-forth fight, one with many sweeps and position changes. If it's something like that for 25 minutes, that works just as well.
Marc (Malden, MA)
A female TUF...that would get me watching the show again
Josh Gross (2:28 PM)
On that note, we're closing up shop. Thanks to everyone that participated.