Hi folks. Happy to be here, as always. A lot of MMA news over the last week, as usual. We'll have plenty of stuff on the UFC-WEC union tomorrow on MMA Live on ESPN2. But want your thoughts on that huge story and anything else of worth. Hopefully here until 2ET. Let's vent.
Were the fans in the know of the WEC UFC merge?
We all knew it was an eventuality and I think fans/media inferred that it could be around the corner. A lot of signs pointed to it. They dissolved the higher weight classes into the UFC last year. Jose Aldo getting offered a fight against Kenny Florian recently made a lot of fans think it was imminent.
Why is Rampage fighting Machida and not Evans? Wouldn't fighting Machida make you the #1 contender?
Rampage beat Rashad Evans in May at UFC 114. Rashad has the next title shot against Shogun Rua. But if Rampage beats Machida, I'd be shocked if he wasn't next after Rashad.
Do you really expect anything different, other than octagon vs cage and being called UFC champion?
It's huge for the fighters. WEC staples like Miguel Torres, Urijah Faber, and all of their champions deserve the UFC showcase, spotlight and money. I know the UFC doesn't want to have too many divisions or champions, which has really plagued boxing. But 7 champions is still manageable and fan-friendly. It's a huge win for most.
I like the merger, but I dont like adding more weight classes, fans want to be entertained by bigger athletes, not these little guys that could pass for 12 yr olds
I understand the viewpoint, but don't agree entirely. When the WEC got rid of its welterweight and middleweight divisions, I sort of found myself wishing there was a least one fight on their cards that involved bigger fighters. But there can be no doubt that the 135 and 145ers deliver great fights a higher percentage of the time. A lot of that is b/c there are fewer finishes and thereby more 15-minute wars. And in the UFC, there will be balance.
With the extra titles do you think the UFC would be tempted to hold a title fight overseas?
Sure. I think the biggest reason for the timing of the move is b/c the UFC needed some marquee fights. Injuries play a huge role in MMA, and having two more titles could really benefit the UFC...and its fans.
With the UFC wanting to move into the Asian markets do you see them bringing back Pride rules for fights in China or Japan?
No. All UFC fights will forever be under the same rules.
Do you think Condit is more likely to get Lytle or the Hughes/Penn winner? Side note - I'm hoping for Nate Diaz to get by Stun gun and meet Penn or Sanchez. Both sick fights.
A lot of intriguing possibilities right now. I'd like to see Condit fight the biggest name possible. That would be the Hughes-Penn winner.
C'mon Jon. With your connections, let's make sure dana announces the Toronto show soon. I'm guessing 4/30 (jays are in NY that weekend)
Hahaha. The MMA calendar is your calendar. Love it. Guess last week's announcement wasn't the Rogers Centre show!
Who's the top prospect at 170?
Really depends how you define prospect. If you're asking me which relatively young guy will be the best 5 years from now, I would say Bellator WW champion Ben Askren.
What is up with Fitch fighting Ellenberger?
I don't have as much of an issue with it as others. Carlos Condit will get his opportunities. And Ellenberger has been very competitive and will definitely spend 15 minutes going for the finish against Fitch.
Bully Beatdown season 3 starts soon. You ever catch Mayhem on MTV?
I've only seen the show once. I think Miller is entertaining. And he's still a Top 20 middleweight in the world, right?
When will Jon Jones fight anybody good? Hamill was the only big name and he beat the snot out of him.
Ryan Bader is his next opponent and he is good. If he beats Bader, Jones will get a huge fight.
Yo Jon first time chatter long time reader. Got a question for you, isn't this merger bad for the casual fan? I had a friend tell me WEC's free cards got him into MMA in general...with the lack of free good cards isn't it a slap in the face to casual fans...love you're chats man, keep it up
Thanks, Matt. There will actually be just as many free cards, just fewer on Versus (will now have 4 UFC shows in 2011). Spike will still have tons of free UFC shows.
do you watch TUF? Isnt GSP sort of arrogantly annoying?
I do watch TUF. I've met and interviewed Georges several times and don't see the arrogance. Confidence is very important in any walk of life, but especially so in pro sports. GSP is very strong mentally and certain in his ways. Perhaps that rubs some as arrogance.
Do you think Ben Henderson can beat Frankie Edgar for the lightweight title?
Jon, what is your opinion on children studying and competing in MMA? Also, your thoughts on the safeguards that are/can be put in place to keep kids safe?
All about safety. Even though I didn't grow up with it, I see tremendous value in teaching kids a martial art. The lifestyle is outstanding, the workouts, etc. My issue is shots to the head. I don't think any child should be sparring until a certain age.
Jon who you got in the Henderson/Pettis fight? Which poses a bigger threat to Edgar/Maynard winner?
Henderson. Henderson. I think the world of Pettis, but Henderson is just on another level right now. He fights with a ferocity that deviates greatly from his disposition. Just won't be denied.
Jon, did you get your 84 jersey out? And then have to put it away again? What do you think of Moss being waived, and who will pick him up?
Vikings should've known what they were getting. Shouldn't have made the trade. Belichick is my hero, as usual.
Are you shocked Marquardt has come to my defense?
Not at all. I expect the fellow fighters to back you, especially since we haven't even heard your side of the story. And Marquardt is a stand-up dude.
Why are so many people counting out Rampage against Machida? I haven't seen one "expert" pick him to win.
It's crazy to me. Rampage is +230. He definitely has a chance to win the fight. Jackson is one of the fighters you really try to get a closer look at leading up to fight week- you want to see what kind of camp he put in and how he is mentally approaching the fight. I've always said a supremely motivated Rampage is the best 205er in the world.
Glad to read that Brock Lesnar is asking to fight Roy Nelson next. A third fight against Mir doesn't help him improve.
Are those really the fighters asking the questions? How do you know?
Definitely not. Just a reader posting as Chael.
Any chance Faber & Torres are the next TUF coaches?
Yes. Miguel has been talking about it for years. Talk about a guy made for that show. He's a walking sound bite.
any possible way Chael can stay on and verify that it is him?
Any word on the Leben accusations of DUI and driving w/o a license and insurance? Is he still on for Stann?
No official word as to whether or not the fight will happen. I'd imagine it'll be pushed back. Will contact Stann this week and have word in the chat next week, if not sooner on Twitter- @Jon_Anik.
Just curious, who is your favorite rapper and your favorite fighter?
Both lists are fairly long. Keith Murray is probably my favorite rapper. Plenty of fighters to choose from. Y'all know I'm a huge Brock Lesnar fan. Like John Howard, too.
Speaking of TUF, what do you think of a season where the coaches were Lesnar and Mir? Imagine the weekly banter.
Not enough money in the world for Lesnar to do that. I will shave my legs if Brock goes through with that. No chance.
LL COOL J, big fatty nelson right?
Leave Huge Country alone.
Do you think Rashad waiting so long on the Rua fight hurts the division in terms of big fights especially since one of the big fights to make would be Rashad/Jones?
Yes. It's been a difficult decision and process for Rashad Evans. Obviously, he is trying to make the best decision for his career and his future. But he doesn't like sitting out or being perceived as a guy who is holding up the division. But it does hurt the division. Of course. Belt was last on the line in May, and may not be again until May.
Damn right I am Chost!!!!!! When are they gonna let me at Nick Diaz? Who you taking when I fight him?
Haha. Really want to see that fight.
I'm happy about the WEC/UFC merger news, I think it's great for fans and fighters (with the small exception of the lower skilled WEC LW's). You've been on record many times as opposing the merger in the past. Do you still think it was a mistake and that fans are unable to remember two more UFC champs (5 is ok, but not 7)?
Great news for the fighters, as stated previously. Urijah Faber has said it'll now be easier to communicate w/ fans, so as not to have to constantly explain what the WEC is, compared to the UFC. I still believe the UFC never wanted to get away from having only 5 champions, but circumstances can dictate actions. This gives them many more options. And 7 champions is not offensive. But in that regard, it is more difficult for casual fans.
What are the chances Frankie drops to 145 now if he loses his belt?
Good question. It definitely opens that door for Edgar. But I don't think he will choose to go in it. When you beat B.J. Penn twice, you don't need to move down to 145. We'll see.
Name 3 fighters who will benefit the most from the merger, i.e become stars? Aldo is a given. I expect you to say Faber and Torres which I disagree as both are past their prime.
Love the question. 1. Ben Henderson 2. Kamal Shalorus 3. Dominick Cruz. Shalorus is older, but not as many miles on the tank as age could suggest. Ben Henderson is the obvious first choice. Still hasn't hit his prime. And the bantamweights may not get as much love, but Cruz looks like a guy who could reign for awhile. Especially if, as you say, Miguel and Faber are past their primes.
The one single superfight between any two fighters in the world would be.........???????
Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre.
What up Chubby Host! What happens if Shogun beats Rashad but re-injures his knee? I think he's had like 3 ACL surgeries and some cleanups already, so it's not out of the question. I would propose a rule that every title must be defended once every 6 months or an interim title fight takes place.
Sup dude. Most of the loyal readers know I have strong feelings on this subject. I definitely believe the belts must be contested twice per calendar year. I know interim titles aren't ideal, but they are necessary. I doubt very much the UFC would employ such a rule, b/c that would be like handcuffing yourself.
Vick, Cutler or Fitzpatrick this week?
How sick will the Aldo vs Clay Guida fight be when Clay drops to 145? Guida will get beat to a pulp but it will be exciting while it lasts.
Just hope Guida's head wouldn't end up in the corner of the Octagon.
I am personally a big fan of both Jon Jones and Ryan Bader; however, I am not a fan fo their upcoming fight. Do you think it's smart to have 2 up and coming fighters face off with each other so soon in their careers?
Rarely does the UFC pit top prospects against one another. But clearly, this was a fight that made sense to them as far as the division is concerned. I doubt you would see Jon Jones face Phil Davis.
What up Chost?? Do you think my boy Jamie Varner has a future in the UFC LW Division?? He needs an impressive win BAD!!!
He's a tough guy and a skilled, well-rounded fighter. I think he will be competitive against the bottom half of the UFC's top 10. And that should be enough to have some staying power. I'd say he could contend, but he's had a ton of wars and injuries and it's hard to believe his body will hold up.
Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum when will it happen?
Let me know when you find out, man.
Is Mir going to fight Schaub next?
I thought the UFC would've moved to have Mir face Roy Nelson. That doesn't appear to be in their plans. I am all for Mir-Schaub.
Whats up with no one wanting to fight Big Country?
Brock Lesnar wants to fight him.
1. Any word on Lesnar - Nelson actually going down? (I know Nelson isn't saying No to anybody) 2. What happens to the HW division if Cigano pulls off the 'semi' upset? I could see UFC hoping for a Lesnar win over Nelson and getting him right back in there for a title shot v. JDS
Won't be happening anytime soon. But Lesnar will always have the most leverage of any UFC fighter b/c he moves the needle like none other. So, if he wants Roy Nelson, I think he's got a great chance to get that fight.
And as for Dos Santos beating Velasquez, who knows who would be next? Shane Carwin just had back surgery. Perhaps Lesnar would get another title shot if he wins his next fight. Too early to forecast.
Any chance of putting MMA live on a fighters shorts?
Hahaha. We have joked about it quite a bit. After every fight, I give Florian a hard time for not putting the MMA Live logo on his shorts. Rashad is my next target for his title fight.
Where do you have Sanchez ranked as a WW and as a LW?
I don't do rankings, per se. But I'd like to see another fight for Sanchez at 170. I just don't like the way he looks at 155.
Is Nelson a wise fight for Lesnar?
It's a test, for sure. No reason, other than money, to have Brock face Frank Mir again. Nelson is a different challenge.
The UFC recently cut good fighters like Gabriel Gonzaga and Patrick Cote, do you there will be more notable fighters being cut with the addition of all the WEC'ers?
It's a good question. I think the biggest losers in the UFC-WEC collaboration are the current UFC lightweights. With the influx of WEC guys, it'll be harder to keep those seats. The merger creates a lot of opportunity for a number of fighters. But it also could take away a lot of jobs.
Any news on tito? Is he getting one more chance with the UFC?
I would imagine so, if there is a novelty fight to be made. I still believe Ortiz is an eventual UFC Hall-of-Famer and I think he deserves to go out the right way. He's competitive enough to warrant one more fight.
Big Nog vs Big Country makes sense?
It does make some sense, depending on how relevant you believe Nogueira still is in UFC heavyweight division. I'm afraid he might be cooked.
Hey Jon, who you got in Margarito vs Pacquiao?
Margarito is an interesting size matchup for Pacquiao. But I like Manny to get the 10th-round KO.
Are you getting tired of TUF as a show? I find myself fastforwarding thru all the house nonsense, some of the training and just watch the fights.
I'm not much for the in-house antics. I usually watch the fights live b/c we tape MMA Live the following morning. Gotta be ready to interview our correspondent.
any chance of ever seeing fight highlights on sportscenter?
Been doing them for years. And since May of 2010 (when MMA Live hit ESPN2), I believe all but one UFC PPV has been highlighted on SportsCenter.
With the addition of the WEC fighters,is the UFC going to be putting on even more shows or are the fight cards going to be deeper?
There will be more overall shows. They will never go deeper than 11-12 fights per card.
Jon Anik (1:51 PM)I'm not much for the in-house antics. I usually watch the fights live b/c we tape MMA Live the following morning. Gotta be ready to interview our correspondent.So does this mean your were there during the taping and you have inside info regarding TUF?
I was not there for the taping, but I could watch the episodes in advance b/c of MMA Live. But rarely do I choose to.
do you remember which UFC PPV wasn't shown and why?
I don't. Perhaps UFC 120, which wasn't even a PPV actually. I can assure you that every time a title is on the line, SportsCenter has been all over it.
Heath Herring is coming back to the UFC....hoooray. I would love to see him fight someone like Mir or Big Country.
Sure. The heavyweight division can always use a recognizable name that most believe still has the ability to compete.
J-Chost,I know you have stated many times that Sweetie Pie (Kenflo) has NO desire to move down to 145, but he stated he was willing to fight Aldo at 155, how about at 145 for the strap?
No chance. Kenny gets up to 177 or so when he's not fighting (not because he's not training). And it's challenging for him to cut down to 155 as is. He will never compete at 145.
Dan Henderson VS Babalu, who you got?
Depends if Henderson trains hard or not.
And, coming off a loss, I think he will.
what are some 155ers that we can expect to drop now that th ufc and wec have merged
Far be it from me to start calling out guys who could lose their jobs...but any of the bottom-tier lightweights could be in jeopardy with a loss. I like Dennis Siver, but he better win his next fight.
Does Fedor have any fights coming up?
Nothing scheduled right now. But there should be news before the end of the year.
Hey Jon, any thoughts on Edgar now moving to 145 now that it is in the UFC, IF he gets by Maynard and Henderson to be a two division title holder?
Those are big ifs. And Frankie's preference really is to stay at 155.
With a Penn victory over Hughes, does Penn stay at WW for his next fights or go back down to LW?
So hard to say, JD. Depends how he wins and what other fights are currently available at that time. I really need to have a spreadsheet of all UFC fighters and their next opponents handy when I'm doing these chats.
I doubt Dana adds two champs just to start having dudes hold on to both of them.
That's a good point. Could happen, but certainly not a priority.
Any news if the PPV's numbers for the Cain-Lesnar fight hit the 1 million? Was that fight the biggest of the year so far?
It should clear 1 million. Not sure what the #s were for Lesnar-Carwin in July, but this one should be the top grosser for 2010.
Why would Siver need to worry about his job? He has won 4 of his 5 fights inside the octagon. Not to mention he is fun to watch.
I like Siver. Think he's got Pearson next. But there are gonna be less spots on the roster. That's all. I'm sure if I had the list in front of me, I could list guys who are in more danger. Was just using him as an example.
Are you a Bruins fan?
You know it.
Beyond Lesnar, Carwin, Cain and JDS, the UFC HW division is weak. Strikeforce HWs are better top to bottom.
We thought guys like Pat Barry and Todd Duffee would infuse the division. Now, both are out of the picture. I still believe the UFC heavyweight division is as top-heavy as Strikeforce's is.
Have you heard how Kenny feels about having his fight bumped?
He's happy to be main-eventing in Texas. The date was never official.
So Leben vs Stann, seems like a big drop off for Leben, I mean I know it's a tune up fight till Silva is back, but Stann is a tough guy for what he's ranked, could be a trap fight, is there any upside to this fight for the Crippler?
Only upside for Leben is the pay day. And, of course, if you win the fight, you won't diminish your status as contender. But Stann is hugely motivated and will be in the shape of his life. Dangerous, dangerous fight for Leben.
Will we see Chuck vs Tito again? or is Dana not allowing Chuck to fight anymore?
If Liddell fights one more time, it'll be against Ortiz.
Rich Franklin is moving up to Light Heavyweight to fight Forrest Griffin do you think the winner would be put up there in title contention?
In the mix. But not the #1 contender.
Who we got on MMALive this week?
Not sure yet, actually. Been out of the office today. I will update in the next few hours on Twitter. Follow me at @Jon_Anik.
UFC made a huge mistake cutting Todd Duffee. Once he fixes his cardio and expands his striking repertoire, he will be a monster. he needs to get with a proven camp like ATT or AKA. Sick athlete at that size!
He could end up back in the UFC.
Where does Matt Serra fit in on your favorite list?
Great guy and really enjoy listening to him talk, and talk about MMA.
Why is Pat Barry out of the picture? Injured? or the loss to CroCop?
Loss to Cro Cop.
Brad Childress and Randy Moss in an Octagon. Who you got?
I'd like to see Belichick vs. Childress. BB would be relentless in that cage.
Did Brock verbally tap against Cain?
According to some, yes.
i still think an improved brock is basically the only heavyweight not named fedor who could potentially knock off cain, despite the ***-whooping he took at 121>>> your thoughts?
I think an improved Shane Carwin has the best chance to beat Cain Velasquez. An improved Lesnar would only beat Velasquez 2 out of 10 times. Cain is too good. Too quick.
J-Chost,So are you saying sweetie is fine with never fighting for a title again? I don't see him having a real shot at the 155 title at this point....
Florian just needs to beat Dunham. The rest will take care of itself.
Alright Anik,Bader or Jones?
They aren't fighting for months. Can't go on the record this early.
what are the chances that we get the pleasure of seeing melendez vs alvarez in the next year
Just not sure what Strikeforce stands to gain, other than a great singular fight. Not sure that is enough to welcome the champion from another major U.S. promotion and risk him knocking off your champ in your cage.
UFC 123 card looks sick.
I'm a big Celtics fan, When are you flying me up to catch a game?
They don't pay me like the fighters, Reid.
Would you rather attend the UFC on New Year's or Super Bowl weekend?
Super Bowl weekend.
Where would Josh Thompson rank in the UFC LWs? Top 15? top 20?
Alright, gotta bounce. Any questions I didn't get to? Find me on Twitter- @Jon_Anik. Details there later tonite on MMA Live on ESPN2 (tomorrow). Until then, be well. And don't text and drive. I've even stopped texting and walking b/c I almost ran headfirst into Matthew Berry yesterday. Was ugly. Peace. -JA