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December 29, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jon Anik

Jon Anik
  (1:01 PM)

Good to be back. Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. We're here until 2PM taking your questions and comments. Let's vent.

Dave (New York)

Nate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun Kim has fight of the night written all over it, who do you have winning this one and how?

Jon Anik
  (1:02 PM)

I like Nate Diaz. It's a good test for Dong Hyun Kim, who is still undefeated, but hasn't faced many guys on Diaz's level. I think Diaz's cardio could be a factor late and I like him by split decision.

Ryan (West Des Moines, IA)

With all the UFC excitement of this weekend, are people overlooking Overeem-Duffee on NYE? What a great way to kick off the weekend!

Jon Anik
  (1:03 PM)

Indeed it is, Ryan. A lot of fans just don't get HDNet, or aren't up at that hour to watch the fights live. But as usual, DREAM's year-end card is drunk with big names.

James (Minneapolis)

Can we expect the TUF coaches to be announced on the PPV card?

Jon Anik
  (1:04 PM)

That is a possibility. Could even be announced in the days leading up to UFC 125.

James (Scotland)

I'm still buzzing after Gray Maynard's explosive interview on MMA Live last week. What a character, huh? Knows how to sell a fight.

Jon Anik
  (1:05 PM)

Hahaha. We've certainly gotten a lot of comments and feedback on the Maynard interview. Verbal communication is not his strong suit. He needs a media coach or something. I thought Bonnar's question about selling/hyping the fight was an appropriate one to pose.

Patrick (Lexington)

Happy New Year Chost. What's your take on the Brock Lesnar situation that's swirling around the net?

Jon Anik
  (1:07 PM)

Happy New Year, Patrick. For those who haven't heard, there are some reports that Brock Lesnar could be entertaining a return to the WWE. I won't go too far with it until we actually have something concrete out of Lesnar's mouth. I do think he may be coming to the realization that he is gonna have a hard time becoming the UFC heavyweight champion again. And, if you know Brock at all, he won't hang around to be second best. That said, I think he's a hugely important piece for the UFC. I hope he sticks with MMA and tries to make another run.

Andrew (Montgomery)

With the exception of the hardcores, do you think that the UFC having fights on New Years will keep hurting the Dynamite fights?

Jon Anik
  (1:08 PM)

I think there is some truth to that. For most casual fans, UFC 125 is the only card on their radar this weekend.

Chael Sonnen (M.I.A.)

Did someone say "hype a fight"?

Jon Anik
  (1:08 PM)

Can't wait to see you tomorrow.

David (Spartanburg SC)

What would you say was the biggest MMA "story" of 2010?

Jon Anik
  (1:09 PM)

For me, it was Fedor Emelianenko's loss to Fabricio Werdum. A close second would be Chael Sonnen's near-win over Anderson Silva.

Nate (Woburn, MA)

Chost, Jim Ross (MMA fan and WWE hall of famer) stated yesterday that the Lesnar to WWE rumors are ridiculous and will not happen.

Jon Anik
  (1:10 PM)

I hope he is accurate and has good sources.

Rory (Chicago)

Who ya got for the main card fights Saturday?

angelo (texas)

give us your picks CHOST

Jon Anik
  (1:12 PM)

Good news fellas- going forward, the ESPN.com MMA staff predictions will now be posted on ESPN.com! I just submitted mine this morning. Won't go into too much detail here, so you will check out all of our picks. But here they are in short form- Frankie Edgar, Brian Stann, Thiago Silva, Nate Diaz, Clay Guida and Jeremy Stephens.

angelo (texas)

will pettis be there sat to hype up the next fight?!

Jon Anik
  (1:12 PM)

Quite possibly. I believe Pettis will be on MMA Live tomorrow night on ESPN2. He was away last Thursday.

Nate (Woburn, MA)

Where will it be a Chosty New Year in 2011? CT, NY, MA?

Jon Anik
  (1:13 PM)

Unfortunately, I am working 6P-2A on New Year's Eve. Not sure I'm allowed to drink while voicing highlights here at ESPN. I will celebrate on Sunday night.

Mitch (Utica, Ny)

Chost, does jamie varner make it back to the UFC? Hope you have a great new year!!!

Jon Anik
  (1:15 PM)

You, too, Mitch! I do think Jamie Varner deserves an opportunity to fight in the UFC and will get at least one fight to prove that. But there are only so many slots, and the loss to Shane Roller at the WEC finale could really hurt him.

angelo (texas)

do you think duffee has a good chance at an upset?

Jon Anik
  (1:14 PM)

Not really, no.

Larry (Townsend, MA)

Chost, buy or sell Mir and Lesnar as TUF 13 coaches?

Jon Anik
  (1:16 PM)

Sell. I don't think Lesnar is the right fit. He can barely handle the cameras in his face during filming of the UFC Primetime and Countdown shows. Just not sure 6 weeks of coaching in front of the cameras/being away from his family has any appeal to Lesnar.

Matt (Seattle)

Does Frankie Edgar stop this fight or does it go to decision?

Jon Anik
  (1:17 PM)

I like Edgar by decision, but I'm not ruling out a late finish. Most fighters I've spoken to don't believe Edgar can finish Maynard. We'll find out soon enough.

Ed (Belleville Mi)

Who's next in line to face Cain-dos santos winner?

Jon Anik
  (1:18 PM)

Still TBD. There is not an obvious candidate after Junior Dos Santos. Could feasibly be Shane Carwin, even though his last fight was a loss to Brock Lesnar. If Velasquez loses, he could get an immediate rematch. I'm open to suggestions.

Sagar Jha (Prospect Heights, IL)

Does Brian Stann deserve to fight Chris Leben, considering Leben beat Akiyama who was top 10 at the time, and Stann probably is not even in the top 15?

Jon Anik
  (1:21 PM)

I hear your point and you aren't the first to echo those sentiments. Perhaps his limited resume at middleweight doesn't make Stann worthy of this opportunity and clearly Stann has more to gain in this fight than Leben does. But style-wise, I definitely think he's got what it takes to beat Leben and it is a close fight on paper.

Cody (SoCal)

Jon Jones vs Cain Velasquez.....that's the next Holy Grail for MMA after Fedor in UFC and GSP vs Silva

Jon Anik
  (1:21 PM)

That fight excites me, of course. But Jon Jones has stated repeatedly that he won't entertain a move to heavyweight before he makes a run at the light heavyweight title. He's finally on the verge of a title shot at 205, so first things first.

Derrick (Tacoma)

Hey Jon, if Thiago Silva beats Vera, does he get a fight with a title contender?

Jon Anik
  (1:24 PM)

Hard to say. I'd like to see him get one of the top 7-8 205ers with a win over Vera. But Thiago Silva hasn't fought in a year and he's also lost 2 of his last 3. Needless to say, UFC 125 is a huge night for Silva's career.

James (Detroit)

FYI..Varner was already cut.

Jon Anik
  (1:24 PM)

Still not sure that completely closes the book on Varner getting a UFC fight. He'll have to win elsewhere, but he has some name recognition and, when he's on, is a great fighter.

angelo (texas)

you liking the dan hardy vs rumble johnson fight?

Jon Anik
  (1:25 PM)

Yup. Tough fight for both men.

Your fan (New York)

Who else besides Chael do you have on tomorrow?

Jon Anik
  (1:26 PM)

Chael Sonnen and Kenny Florian will be in Bristol. We'll also do interviews with Frankie Edgar and Anthony Pettis.

Jon Anik
  (1:26 PM)

And so ya know, MMA Live airs on Friday night on ESPN2. Just as the ball drops in NYC at the stroke of midnight, MMA Live will drop on ESPN2.

rob(jersey) [via mobile]

No love for an OG of this chat? LOL. Can't wait to hear "Kick in the Door" on Saturday. Frankie: 49-46x3 - Thank you.

Jon Anik
  (1:26 PM)

Good to hear from you, sir. Love the Edgar play.

Burdman (NYC)

We all know you are a big Kamal Shalorus fan, but he hasn't looked sharp (or all that dangerous) in his last two fights. Are you still as high on Shalorus as you were before the Varner fight?

Jon Anik
  (1:29 PM)

Great question, Burdman. He looked worlds better against Jamie Varner than he did his last time out. Perhaps I've cooled on him a little bit. But I still believe, as an exciting, undefeated fighter, he could be worth a look by the UFC. But his style really is predicated on getting the finish, and that hasn't happened of late.

Hayden (Logan, Utah)

whats next for BJ Penn?

Jon Anik
  (1:29 PM)

Jon Fitch in the main event at UFC 127, February 27th in Australia.

Matt (Dallas)

Lets hope for the sake of 155 lb UFC division that Mr. Charisma Gray Maynard does NOT win! MMA needs guys who can sell the sport.

Jon Anik
  (1:30 PM)

That is fair.

Dan S. (Waukesha, WI)

Late to the party, but I'm here. Who do you like in the Leben-Stann fight?

Jon Anik
  (1:30 PM)

Stann. When Brian was here in Bristol (shortly after his win against Mike Massenzio), he wouldn't stop talking about a fight against Chris Leben. Stann got his wish, and I expect him to take advantage. A win over a middleweight contender like Leben could really propel Stann into the mix.

Frank (Chi)

I dont think Rob from Jersey knows that title fights are 5 rounds

Jon Anik
  (1:31 PM)

49-46 is a 5-round score, no?

mike (pittsburgh)

I know Gomi is fighting Guida saturday but should he lose what about a Shalarous-Gomi tilt? A fun fight for the fans, no?

Jon Anik
  (1:30 PM)

Love it.

CJ (Washington)

How much of a chance are you giving Pettis against both Edgar and Maynard?

Jon Anik
  (1:32 PM)

I think he's got a great chance to beat either one of them. Ben Henderson was unbeatable for 10 fights before Pettis solved him. No reason to believe Pettis can't hang with the top guys in the UFC. I think the Edgar matchup might be better for Pettis than a fight with Maynard, but I absolutely believe he can win both fights.

Reid (MS)

How much of a chance are you giving BJ?

Jon Anik
  (1:34 PM)

I'm not sure I'll actually pick him to win the fight. I just hope Penn is as mentally sound and focused for the Fitch fight as he was for the Hughes fight. B.J. didn't put any pressure on himself against Hughes and it worked. Gotta be loose and aggressive against Fitch.

Scamrock (ESPN Message Boards)

Beyond Edgar/Maynard/Pettis, who do you think is most deserving of a title shot (assuming they win their next fights), Dunham, Sotiropoulos, Miller, or somebody else?

Jon Anik
  (1:36 PM)

All good options, but I would say Dunham. He would be the obvious choice, had he not lost to Sean Sherk. And, of course, that decision was highly questionable in my eyes. Miller has a great case, even if you want to argue that he should've lost that decision to Mark Bocek last year. Sotiropoulos hasn't faced many of the elite 155ers yet, but could ultimately be the best of the bunch. That division is in good hands.

James (Minneapolis)

K-flo against Pettis? a fight we will see in 2011?

Jon Anik
  (1:36 PM)

Could happen, but not my expectation.

Reid (MS)

Has the UFC given Kenny any idea of who they may throw him up against upon return or is that too far away?

Jon Anik
  (1:38 PM)

Still no definitive timetable on the knee/Florian's return. But I do think there is some momentum for a fight b/w Kenny and Jim Miller. Miller referenced it on Twitter earlier this week, after Florian was receptive to it last week on MMA Live. We'll see.

Chuck (Philly)

Any idea what Dana White's big anouncement is today? If not what do you think it is???

Jon Anik
  (1:38 PM)

Just like I'm done picking against Frankie Edgar, I'm done trying to predict what Dana's announcements will be. Doesn't mean I'm not curious...

Emanuel Foto Finisher (Kent, WA)

Is there a chance KenFlo gets on the Seattle Card?

Jon Anik
  (1:39 PM)

That would be the earliest he could return.

Wayne (Albuquerque)

Do you feel that "Kid" Yamamoto will go back to his old ways of destroying people the way he did in Dream?

Jon Anik
  (1:40 PM)

I'm sure that'll be the goal, but he's been at this a long time and I think his prime is behind him. Still like the signing, but I'm not sure he'll be much of a factor or contender.

Dan S. (Waukesha, WI)

Where are you spending New Years JA? Vegas? Canada? Bristol?

Jon Anik
  (1:41 PM)

Brutal, CT. I mean, Bristol, CT.

Rory (Chicago)

If Tyron Woodley is victorious against Saffiedine will he get a title shot against Diaz?

Jon Anik
  (1:41 PM)

I don't think so. Paul Daley likely has leapfrogged Woodley as far as the Strikeforce welterweight title picture is concerned.

Joe Streitenberger (Grove City, Ohio)

If edgar looses to maynard will we see edgar move to 145 to face aldo. edgar is a small guy and probably could beat aldo

Jon Anik
  (1:43 PM)

I don't think so. As the defending UFC lightweight champion, Edgar isn't in any great rush to move down to 145. Now, the UFC may want him to go that way, were he to lose to Maynard. They do need some recognizable names in the featherweight division.

Matt (Dallas)

Edgar will move down to 145 at some point & Aldo will move up to 155 eventually

Andrew (Orange Park, FL)

Who's next for Bonnar, really?

Jon Anik
  (1:43 PM)

I think he will face either Forrest Griffin or Rich Franklin.

Brad (Sacramento)

Speaking of that Diaz, does he just want nothing to do with the top fighters in his weight class(the UFC)?

Jon Anik
  (1:45 PM)

Brad is referencing Diaz's decision to re-sign a longer-term deal with Strikeforce. I really like the loyalty, but was somewhat surprised to hear the news. There are more high-level challenges for him in the UFC, but Diaz is comfortable and it's a big win for Strikeforce.

Matt (Dallas)

His brother is in the same weight class!

Jon Anik
  (1:45 PM)

I don't think that was as big a factor in the decision, despite what you may have read or heard.

Andrew (Montgomery)

I would rather see Bonnar fight someone new, isn't there anyone else available? How about Davis?

Jon Anik
  (1:46 PM)

He already had to fight Jon Jones. Now, you want him to fight Phil Davis? Hahaha. The matchup does make some sense, but that's not my expectation for Bonnar's next fight.

Aaron (fl)

Bonnar vs Thiago silva

Jon Anik
  (1:46 PM)

I like that. Florian thinks Bonnar should fight the winner of Tito Ortiz vs. Lil Nog. Another good option.

Gowin (Renton, Wa)

What is Phil Davis up to? That guy is for real.

Jon Anik
  (1:48 PM)

Chillaxin'. Getting that nasty gash on his leg healed up...and waiting by the phone for a call from Joe Silva.

Andrew (Orange Park, FL)

If its Griffin/Bonnar 3, any chance it'll be after coaching against each other in TUF?

Jon Anik
  (1:48 PM)

Doubtful.

Dan Rafael (Arlington, VA)

Don't ban anyone. I'm watching.

Jon Anik
  (1:48 PM)

Hahahahaha. Wouldn't think of stealing your thunder, or your phrase.

Joe Streitenberger (Grove City, Ohio)

tomorrow on mma live ask sonnen does he think that he will have the title in 2011 and what do you think?

Jon Anik
  (1:49 PM)

Hopefully we'll have the chance to ask Sonnen a number of questions about his fighting future. Most of you know how I feel about it. I think Sonnen's next opponent will be Anderson Silva. Even if Silva loses to Belfort, I believe that is the fight the UFC wants to make.

Danny (Scotland)

Whats next for Lyoto Machida?

Jon Anik
  (1:50 PM)

As with all of the top light heavyweights, there are a number of possibilities for Lyoto Machida. Your guess is better than mine.

Andrew (Montgomery)

Speaking of the other woman, how is Kenny's wrestling training coming or is it on hold while heals?

Jon Anik
  (1:50 PM)

He really can't do anything mobile for 4 weeks. He's been at ESPN with a full leg brace on the outside of his suit.

Dave (Denver)

Bonnar VS Machida!

Brian C. (Avon, CT)

Jon, what's Dustin Hazelett's future now that he flamed out in the UFC? The guy has TOP LEVEL talent, I'm still convinced. Just a raw break. This guy could sell tickets with Strikeforce.

Jon Anik
  (1:51 PM)

I think one of the other top U.S. promoters (Strikeforce, Bellator) could have some interest. But knowing how Bellator operates, they may be reluctant b/c of the string of losses. The ability is there. He'll likely compete at 155 lbs. going forward. But he's got a lot of work to do to become consistent.

Roman (CGY)

Anderson Silva did not look like himself against Sonnen. Do you attribute that to his decline/age (35), injury or Sonnen being that damn good?

Jon Anik
  (1:52 PM)

A combination of factors. Sonnen is a bad matchup for Silva. Anderson was also dealing with a rib injury that may have contributed to the lackluster performance.

Jon Anik
  (1:53 PM)

MMA Live update- doesn't look like Anthony Pettis will be on with us Friday night. They're working on Brian Stann now. Will update you all later today on Twitter, so feel free to follow @Jon_Anik and @ESPN_MMALIVE and we'll keep you posted.

Aaron (Chicago)

How long you going for today?

Jon Anik
  (1:54 PM)

Have a meeting at 2:15 with a V.I.P., so I gotta bounce in about 10 minutes. Last call...

Cody (SoCal)

After Silva defeats Belfort, GSP defeats Shields, you think UFC will make Silva vs Sonnen II before we see GSP vs Silva???

Jon Anik
  (1:54 PM)

I do, yes. But I've been wrong before. And will be wrong again.

Jon Anik
  (1:55 PM)

Ultimately, I think a GSP-Silva fight hinges largely on whether or not St-Pierre is willing to make a permanent move to middleweight. And, how soon would that happen?

Aaron (Chicago)

Is Dana retracting Okami's title shot?

Jon Anik
  (1:56 PM)

Who knows? If Vitor Belfort wins, I expect Yushin Okami to get the title shot. But, should Anderson Silva win, I think there would be great momentum and pressure to give Sonnen another crack at the champ.

Ken (Austin)

Talk of a Chael immediate rematch annoys me. He tapped! He quit! He lost decisively. Why does he get another chance?

Jon Anik
  (1:58 PM)

I think you know the answer, Ken. It's simply that he bludgeoned the previously invincible Anderson Silva for 24 minutes. Because of that performance, many people, myself included, want to see them run it back. Can Sonnen dominate Silva again, but this time get the finish? Would a 100% healthy Anderson Silva have an easier time with Sonnen?

James (Minneapolis)

can you tell us what happened with Pettis? Maybe next week show?

Jon Anik
  (1:59 PM)

Oh, I'm sure it was just a logistical issue. He'll be on at some point in the future. Rest assured. Could even be on our Awards Show on Jan. 6th (next week, ESPN2), if Pettis-Henderson wins our Fight of the Year.

Jon Anik
  (1:59 PM)

Voting for the MMA Live Awards is ongoing at ESPN.com. YOU determine the winners, not us.

Ken (Pittsburgh)

Is "V.I.P." your new nickname for Franklin?

Jon Anik
  (1:59 PM)

Nope. McNeil is very important. This lady is even more important.

Nate (WA)

What are the determining factors for you in picking Stann over Leben? Rip Oliver JR. is gonna take down the marine.

Jon Anik
  (2:00 PM)

Well, I really like the matchup for both guys. Perhaps I'm swayed by my conversation with Stann in the ESPN cafeteria a few months ago, when he broke down every angle of the fight and stated his case.

Reid (MS)

Shout out to my boy, P Willy. First four seasons as a Pro-Bowler.

Jon Anik
  (2:01 PM)

Love Patrick Willis. Love that he trains in MMA.

Dan S. (Waukesha, WI)

Better odds of happening: the NFL West winning a playoff game, or Maynard/Edgar ending inside 25 minutes

Jon Anik
  (2:01 PM)

Maynard/Edgar ending inside 25 minutes. Absolutely love the cross-sport questions.

Jon Anik
  (2:04 PM)

Alright, heads. Must bounce on outta here. Please fire any unanswered questions to me on Twitter (@Jon_Anik) and I will get back to you within 24 hours or so. And don't forget, MMA Live airs on ESPN2 on FRIDAY, not Thursday this week. Just as the East coast calendar turns to 2011, we'll be on. Until then, Happy New Year, be safe and don't text and drive. -JA