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 (1:01 PM)
What's up chatters? Happy Wednesday to you. Had an unfortunate incident last night involving a butcher knife and my left index finger ... so the typing skills may be somewhat diminished today. We won't let that stop us, though. Don't be shy, fire away.
Chris va. [via mobile]
Hey brett,Watched floyd fight then my friends debated , who floyd had ducked , how he picked his oppents? I,m not sure ? Thoughts? Thanks
Brett Okamoto (1:03 PM)
Yeah, wasn't the best boxing match I attended last weekend in Vegas but I will say, Floyd looked like he was losing a step when he fought Miguel Cotto. Not the case at all against Robert Guerrero, and that was after a year off and a short lockup. I was happy to see he's still very much Floyd Mayweather Jr., because he's the best I've ever witnessed. As far as who he's "ducked," ... ducked is such a strong word but Floyd has been selective. No doubt about that.
Domnick va. [via mobile]
What mma match has had the best boxing ? Back and fourth.
Brett Okamoto (1:05 PM)
Oh man ... tough one off the top of my head ... thinking ... that's a good question I want to do it justice. I loved the Ross Pearson, Edson Barboza fight in terms of back and forth, technical standup, but it wasn't just boxing obviously. Honestly, the Demetrious Johnson, Joseph Benavidez fight featured some great boxing, footwork, combinations, etc. I can do better though, let me think about it some more.
Darren (Decatur, GA)
Brett, what would you say is the key to defeating Cain Velasquez? I believe stopping his forward pressure is paramount. He's a decent striker but it's his wrestling that sets everything up.
Brett Okamoto (1:07 PM)
Of course, his wrestling is engrained in everything he does. So is his cardio. That non-stop pressure he put on Junior was exhausting just to watch. I think you have to be able to move around the cage with footwork and use accurate punching to make him think twice about just swarming you. Which is why JDS is still the best fight for him and really the only guy right now who I think gives him trouble. If you end up on the ground with him you're in huge trouble.
bill (South Bend)
If Jon Jones next fight is Silva and it isn't until the end of the year/beginning of next all that time to study and train to beat Silva at his own game I think Jones wins in dominant fashion
Brett Okamoto (1:07 PM)
Can't argue, except with the part about "beating him at his own game." Jones won't stand on the outside and kickbox Anderson. He'll do what he did to Chael, come forward, use his size, put him on his back.
Truck driver u.S.A. [via mobile]
Nice read mw contenders and pretenders, i just belive there is one man not c.W. ' father time' he gets everyone.
Brett Okamoto (1:09 PM)
Thanks, any chatters who haven't seen it, I gave my breakdown on the middleweight division in a blog yesterday. Yes, Father Time is undefeated overall, but you could say Anderson is defying him right now as we speak. I really like Chris Weidman but I don't think he wins this summer.
Domnick va. [via mobile]
Brett, what mma fighter would compare floyd to??
Brett Okamoto (1:10 PM)
The obvious comparison is Georges St. Pierre, but I hate to say that because most people treat it as a negative. "They're too calculated, they're boring, they don't take risks." I look at it in terms of the positives. First and foremost being, I would say GSP and Floyd are maybe the two best fighters I've ever seen in terms of being prepared. Mentally, they know what they need to do, know their opponent inside and out and then physically, these guys put in serious work in the gym.
Brett, the Bigfoot v Cain ppv is awesome, can't wait. Besides co main event, what fight you most hyped for? I'm ready to see all the 155ers on the card get After it
Brett Okamoto (1:12 PM)
I'm glad you're up for the main and co-main. I'm not, honestly. Don't get me wrong, I'll watch Cain Velasquez fight any day of the week because he's one of the best in the world right now, but I don't see it being a competitive fight. At all. I like the Nurmagomedov/Trujillo fight the most on the undercard.
Whose likely to be next up for Floyd Mayweather in (I assume) November?
Brett Okamoto (1:13 PM)
Devon Alexander was a popular candidate in the circles I talked to. Canelo would be fantastic but the feeling is that fight won't happen.
Chris va. [via mobile]
Brett, with talk about rashad vs hendo , lot talk rashad going 185, i wonder how hendo 's career will come to close amazing to me ! don,t want mis his last fight? Thanks
Brett Okamoto (1:15 PM)
I don't want this to be his last fight either, but you never know I guess when a career reaches this point. When he fought Lyoto, he looked fine. He wasn't able to really go after Lyoto in the way he probably would have years ago, but even so, he's still plenty effective at this age. The question is, will that be enough to keep him around? Will Dan want to stay in the game just to win fights but not holding a title? I don't think Rashad goes down to 185. I just think the cut would be too difficult.
Hey Brett, not sure why so many people are discounting Hunt against JDS, are they forgetting that this is going to be a kickboxing bout and Hunt is a world champion kickboxer?
Brett Okamoto (1:17 PM)
I think people see a standup fight and it's hard not to like JDS in a standup fight regardless of who he's going against. Hunt has been on a wild run, man. He's definitely proved me wrong on multiple occasions. But ... I really think the streak is over this time.
Brett Okamoto (1:17 PM)
JDS has a great chin! We saw that in the Cain Velasquez fight. Maybe if JDS had a weak chin I could think, maybe Hunt takes five to land one and that will be enough, but JDS comes in terrific shape and he's obviously very hard to finish.
How can Camozzi pull of the upset over Jacare?
Brett Okamoto (1:19 PM)
Maybe Jacare horribly and brutally mangles his toe on the mat? I like Camozzi (I pretty much like all Colorado fighters) but I can't see him winning this fight. He doesn't have great knockout power ... he's not an outstanding athlete ... Jacare is the real deal.
Domnick va. [via mobile]
Brett, who should d.C. Fight next, not so sure about mr. Jones at 205?
Brett Okamoto (1:20 PM)
He wants Roy Nelson, bad. Sees it as a way to stay active while he continues dropping weight. Maybe if that fight were booked for late summer, I could see Cormier weighing in at something like 215-218 pounds. It's a great plan in theory ... I wouldn't take Roy TOO lightly, though. Don't just focus on cutting weight and forget about the skills Roy brings to the table.
is it possible that if jones silva happens on that same card you put cormier vs big country and machida vs gustafsson? those 3 fights on the same card would break ufc ppv sales.
Brett Okamoto (1:21 PM)
Chances are, Jones/Silva breaks UFC PPV records by itself. No need for a great co-main. I'm with you on the two other matchups, though. I'd like to see both.
Tim (Brighton, MA)
Hey Brett,I want to avoid a superfight question. As much as Benson's reign has been impressive, and I don't think he's a jerk in anyway, I still find myself rooting against him. I'm a huge Edgar fan, so those fights were frustrating (still think he won at least one of them) and the Gilbert Melendez one was in some ways even more frustrating. I think I just want to see Benson CAN finish guys. But with that said, which guy do you think has a better shot bringing the pressure and either beating him, or forcing him to be more aggressive, Grant or Maynard?
Brett Okamoto (1:25 PM)
It's interesting. Maynard matches up well in some respects. He's one of the harder hitters at 155 and he fights well on the inside, but is he a better boxer than Melendez? I'd say probably not. And Maynard, unless things have changed in the past two years, doesn't move exceptionally well around the cage, which I think is important in a Henderson fight. He also gasses occasionally. I actually think we may all be sleeping on Grant. He showed a lot of versatility in his standup in that last fight and he's a big, strong guy. I think he's more athletic than he gets credit for because he looks like he spends his time between fights in a lumber yard. Honestly, I think I'm more intrigued by a Grant/Henderson fight than Maynard/Henderson right now.
Roy Nelson (My Beard)
How far am I from my title shot?
Brett Okamoto (1:27 PM)
I think you're hesitant to fight Cormier because it's a difficult fight and you want some guaranteed incentive if you take that risk. Shoot for the stars, Roy. Take the fight. Even if the UFC isn't willing to guarantee you anything, the fans and media know who DC is. They understand you'd be taking a risk. You win that ... heavyweight division is wide open. Cain beats Silva ... then probably takes a JDS rematch ... you have some leverage in asking for a fight against both those guys. You have a clubbing right hand (the same thing that took Velasquez out in his loss) and you went the distance against JDS before. Embrace this DC fight, win and you may be right there for a title shot.
Call me craZzy, but.... I think if slive can get to 175 for catchweight... GSP/Silva will be more competitve than Jones/Silva at 205... I have always been a proponent of GSP/Silva from the beginning... silva will weaken with the weight cut.
Brett Okamoto (1:28 PM)
I don't know. Silva just has that weird, unnatural ability to look good at basically any and all weights. GSP has the style to beat him but I still think Silva wins that fight 9 times out of 10.
mike (denver )
im calling it weid man over silva for one of the greatest upsets in ufc history your thoughts?
Brett Okamoto (1:29 PM)
It wouldn't be one of the greatest upsets in UFC history, surprisingly. Judging by the odds on the fight, Silva is less than 3-to-1 favorite. Not sure when the last time Silva's been that low of a favorite. Can't remember what it was in the Sonnen rematch. Either way, I can't agree with you Mike. I think Silva beats him. I don't think Weidman has an easy time taking him down and he's toast on the feet.
Adam (Long Beach)
So what's your take on Anderson skipping the media day? Did he just forget about it? Blow it off intentionally? Is this a sign of him being less focused?
Brett Okamoto (1:31 PM)
First off, my take is I'm so happy I didn't drive to LA from Vegas. That drive is ridiculously boring by yourself and I was considering it. In terms of what it means? Eh. Silva should be promoting the fight, it's part of the job, but that's all it means to me. I don't think it gives us any insight into how he's feeling.
People often look at common opponents. In regards to the dream fight, Silva vs Jones. What are your thoughts on how Jones handled Sonnen compared to Silva, and how Silva handled Belfort compared to Jones? Also do you think Silva vs Wiedman will be like Mayweather vs Guerro?
Brett Okamoto (1:33 PM)
Good question, I've seen it floating around and personally, I don't make anything of the common opponents. Sonnen was never going to have success against Jones because his strengths didn't match up. Sonnen needs to be the bully in the cage, the guy on top and he was never going to be that guy against an athletic, huge light heavyweight with the wrestling skills of Jones. In terms of Vitor, Silva and Jones were basically successful at the same things. When it was an outside fight and Jones used his reach, he picked Belfort apart. Especially when Belfort got tired. The Belfort/Silva fight didn't last too long, but we didn't see Belfort trying to pull guard on Silva. That should tell us something about how dominant and intimidating Jones can be on his feet.
Sonnen was +250 in rematch.
Brett Okamoto (1:34 PM)
Thanks Ed. So, close to the same as this fight with Weidman I guess.
john (yo mamma)
brett y u so down on the velasquez big foot fight card even if that fight sucks u still have a great co main fight in dos santos hunt plus texiera fightins and grant vs maynor whats not to like?
Brett Okamoto (1:35 PM)
I don't hate the card top to bottom, I'm just not into the main event. The co-main is intriguing. Maynard/Grant is terrific. I'm interested in Glover Teixeira but I don't think, even if he runs through James Te Huna, he's a huge challenge to Jon Jones.
Paul (SF, CA)
The problem for Floyd Mayweather (and to a lesser extent GSP) is that in combat sports you make your legacy with legendary fights, and your record is secondary. Obviously winning is important and necessary but without those signature fights and rivalries there will always be something missing.
Brett Okamoto (1:37 PM)
I agree, and in both cases you can sort of say it wasn't their fault. Mayweather definitely should have fought Pacquiao, that would have been huge for his legacy, but other than that, there really hasn't been an obvious rival for either of these guys throughout their careers.
Not that its ever going to happen cause they're friends and all that, but who do you think would win in a five round fight at 205. Machida or Silva?
Brett Okamoto (1:38 PM)
How you feel about Shane Carwin retirement. I wanted 1 more fight for the guy
Brett Okamoto (1:39 PM)
Yeah, it probably needed to happen but it was disappointing to hear it officially. I'm actually attending a wedding in Colorado later this month and I was trying to get some time with Carwin in person to talk about his career. Guess I got my answer on whether or not that's happening. I definitely wish him the best. He was a classy guy to be around when I covered his fights.
John (Austin, TX)
Hi Brett, If a Silva-Jones fight does occur & if Jones were to win, does he automatically get the G.O.A.T. label or would longevity still be an issue?
Brett Okamoto (1:40 PM)
Longevity would still be an issue. I don't think you could crown him the greatest of all time so early in his career. If Silva wins though? If I were him I'd consider retiring. That would cement it. That'd be Michael Jordan status in that no matter what came after, it'd be nearly impossible to pass his legacy.
So the UFC fined Anderson Silva and Matt Mitrione recently. Where does that fine come from? Their next purse, their savings account? How does the UFC enforce these fines?
Brett Okamoto (1:43 PM)
I can't say I'm 100 percent sure. I wish we knew what Mitrione's fine was, though. Why make Anderson's public and not Mitrione's? I know. Because the UFC wanted Anderson's fine to be news. They wanted people talking about it. It's a way to still promote the fight even though Anderson didn't show up. He's still in the headlines. The Mitrione thing, no incentive to tell us how much it was. These things should be transparent, though.
Adam (Long Beach)
If Silva's legacy has to be defined at defeating Jones at LHW then I think Jones' legacy would have to be determined by how he fares as a HW.
Brett Okamoto (1:44 PM)
I didn't say Silva's legacy will be DEFINED by a Jones fight. His legacy is secure already, regardless of what happens. But in terms of keeping himself as GOAT, even after he's retired? A win over Jones would do that.
steve (dc) [via mobile]
If GSP-Silva gets made, do you think GSP would consider asking Jones to give him some work on getting used to an opponent with so much length? Even though GSP isn't especially close with Jackson, there's still a mutual connection there.
Brett Okamoto (1:45 PM)
Yeah, I wouldn't rule it out. Like I said earlier in the chat, GSP is one of the best martial artists of all time when it comes to preparation. Wouldn't be an awful idea. Not like Jones and GSP are fighting each other any time soon.
Why is Roy Nelson always over looked to me he is a nightmare match up for anyone. His jiu jitsu is top notch and his rock solid chin mean best case you win with a decision if he doesn't knock you out
Brett Okamoto (1:47 PM)
You're definitely only looking at Roy in a positive light. He falls in love with the overhand right too much. His defense can be downright atrocious. I understand you can take punches, but that doesn't mean you HAVE to. His cardio isn't terrific. His grappling game is underrated, I agree with that, but he doesn't have the explosive wrestling/pressure game to get an elite fighter down. I wouldn't say he's a nightmare matchup for everyone. Fabricio Werdum OWNED him when they fought. Creamed him.
How did Anderson lose his fights? What I mean is, I know how/why Fedor lost his one loss prior to Strikeforce (a horrible doctor stoppage) and I know about how/why GSP lost his fights (a "lucky" punch from Serra and the gravity of the moment and awe for his opponent getting the better of him against Hughes). But I don't know about Anderson's early fights.
Brett Okamoto (1:49 PM)
YouTube brotha. The Okami loss was a DQ. He lost to a flying scissor heel hook which is crazy and flukey but still a loss. He lost a decision in 2000. It's been awhile since I've watched that one, you can find it on YouTube, but I want to say the guy outwrestled him for most of the fight and kept him on his back.
The UFC was founded on people finishing fights. Nowadays, people hold on fence, hold on the ground, hold for time expiration. Some fans favor the technical aspects over finishing and damage. Would you like to see any changes in scoring since the matches no longer force an opponent to tap (or get KOed) in order to win?
Brett Okamoto (1:51 PM)
The 10-9 system has its faults, for sure. I wouldn't be opposed to seeing a change in scoring at all, but I'm also not one of those guys who thinks it's crippling the sport. There are rules, everybody follows the same rules, it can lead to a situation where guys are "just cruising" or stalling but ultimately, I don't leave every martial arts event saying, "Man, something's gotta be done about the scoring."
Is it me or has Roy Nelson's hand gotten a lot better since working with Jeff Mayweather? He seems to know exactly when to drop that N-Bomb.
Brett Okamoto (1:53 PM)
Meh. It's going to sound like I'm hating on Roy. I'm not. He's been winning fights. But since he started with Mayweather he's basically fought who? Dave Herman? Matt Mitrione (who is still very, very, very raw)? PayCheick Kongo? I think the quality of opposition has gone down. If he does it against an elite guy, then I'll give his work with Mayweather credit.
Everybody seems to be forgetting about werdum at heavyweight? He battered nelson just as bad as JDS, and his stand up was everyones biggest problem with him 2 yearsa go. I see him giving cain a run for his money as cain wants to put you on your back and werdum is as dangerous as they come on his back
Brett Okamoto (1:55 PM)
For sure, Werdum is a threat at heavyweight no doubt. He had all this momentum after the Roy Nelson win and then just nothing. He faded from memory because of the reality show. Kind of weird. And I will tell you, I was in Texas the night he fought Alistair Overeem and if he hadn't started doing his fake fall down, smile, wave Overeem into his guard crap, he could have easily won a decision that night. Overeem never really hit him, at all. It was a terrible fight. If he won that, you're looking at a 6-fight win streak.
New job and new city make it nearly impossible to get on here anymore. Floyd looked great, Vitor with the KO next week, Weidman will ruin AS via GNP. Peace out
Brett Okamoto (1:57 PM)
Congrats on the move, and bold move to hop in and drop the mic like that. Like your style. I'm pretty confident Anderson Silva beats Chris Weidman, though.
Dana says the UFC is looking into different gloves to try and stop all the eye pokes. Do you have any insight into this? Full finger gloves? Something like a boxing glove but with more mobility? And how happy will Rogan be if they do change the gloves?!
Brett Okamoto (1:58 PM)
Rogan will be going nuts. He'll mention the new gloves on the broadcast at least 5 bajillion times. I haven't seen any new glove they may introduce. I'd love to see it. Seems like a tough thing to get around, eye pokes in general, but there are smarter people in the world out there than me. Maybe we can make it happen.
Nando Nyc [via mobile]
brett love your articles on contenders/pretenders in the middleweight division. if silva/jones fight happens and Jones wins, do you think that would speed up his rise to heavyweight?
Brett Okamoto (1:59 PM)
Probably. I think super fight or no super fight, Jones isn't real interested in recycling through the division (sorry Lyoto). I think he wants Gustafsson and maybe Dan Henderson if Dan beats Rashad then he's out.
Any news on Cruz or Mighty Mouse? The lighter divisions have been quiet lately
Brett Okamoto (2:00 PM)
Demetrious Johnson is still fighting John Moraga, that's going down in Seattle. Still no "official" timetable for Cruz, but fingers crossed he should be able to fight before the end of the year.
is roy nelson and dc a free fight main event? or would the ufc want to make that a paperview fight? if it happens
Brett Okamoto (2:01 PM)
I guess it just depends on where the free fight is taking place. If it's overseas as many of the free fights are now, I'm not sure that it makes a ton of sense to go with two Americans who don't have much exposure in those markets. I see it more as a co-main on a PPV.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Am I the only one left who still thinks Silva beats Jones?
Brett Okamoto (2:02 PM)
My good buddy here at ESPN.com Josh Gross is hanging in there with you.
someone asked the best boxing match that you have seen in MMA. I remember being blown away with Hominick vs Aldo, they were standing face to face trading back and forth. never seen two anyone as quick as those two
Brett Okamoto (2:03 PM)
Yeah ... there was some good boxing going on in that one ... it was pretty one-sided though ... actually Frankie Edgar/Gray Maynard II (the first title fight) had some awesome boxing. Maynard with the lead hook and uppercuts early, Frankie finding his range and landing combinations late. That one comes to mind.
Todd (Iowa City)
How come the UFC allows people like Belfort to only fight in their homeland? In a way it's kind of looking the other way regarding steroids and TRT and in some way encouraging it. If Vitor is on TRT, it's because he used steroids his whole career. Why pacify a ghuy like that by allowing him to fight in Brazil because he can't pass a drug test in the U.S.
Brett Okamoto (2:05 PM)
Phenomenal question Todd. I've asked it to Dana, around the time Dana was being so critical on TRT in general. Belfort needs to fight in the States where an independent body like the Nevada commission will debate on whether or not to give him an exemption and if they do give him an exemption, you can bet your mortgage they will test him randomly probably multiple times prior to the fight.
JP (Columbus, OH)
Brett - who do you think is the toughest fight out there for Floyd, whether or not they "deserve" to fight him and whether or not Floyd would realistically take the fight? Assume the fight happens at 147 or 154.
Brett Okamoto (2:08 PM)
I'm still interested in a Pacquiao fight, even though Floyd probably wins that. Canelo is getting there, but I think if he fought Floyd right now, Floyd is too seasoned and would get the best of him. Adrien Broner might be fun, but that's not happening.
Does Jones gain more from a win over AS or Cain?
Brett Okamoto (2:08 PM)
Right now, Anderson Silva.
Tim (Brighton, MA)
A fight a bit down the road I'm really looking forward to is Korean Zombie v. Ricardo Lamas. Do either of these guys strike you as contenders to beat Aldo? Or are we just simply talking about a Jon Jones/Silva/GSP caliber champion with him?
Brett Okamoto (2:11 PM)
I underestimated Lamas wrestling in his last fight. I knew he was a strong wrestler, but I didn't think he'd be able to corner an athlete like Erik Koch like that and take him down so easily. I like his chances a little more against Aldo than I do Korean Zombie. Zombie is a fighter, he's dynamic, he's entertaining, but I can't see him keeping up with Aldo's firepower and he doesn't really have the ability to slow that fight down if/when he would need to.
Paul (SF, CA)
Wanderlei vs. Chael is gaining some grist in the rumor mill. Seems like a good, logical fight. How close is it to being made and would it be at 205?
Brett Okamoto (2:12 PM)
Yeah, feels pretty inevitable at this point. Chael wants to be at 205 and I can't see any reason Wand would really push for it to be at any other weight. I'm actually talking to Wand in Vegas early next week, looking forward to hearing what he has to say about it.
Brett Okamoto (2:13 PM)
And let's wrap it there for the day. Thanks for joining me on a slow MMA week guys, appreciate it. We'll discuss Belfort/Rockhold in seven days, plus anything else that may come up. And you can always contact me on Twitter, @bokamotoESPN. Enjoy the weekend.