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March 16, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jon Anik

Jon Anik
  (12:56 PM)

What a weekend in mixed martial arts, as we learned that the UFC had acquired its #1 competitor, Strikeforce. We'll talk about that as well as UFC 128, upcoming Saturday night in New Jersey. Happy to report I will be in the building. I'll also share details on this week's MMA Live (ESPN2 tomorrow, 11PM ET).

Justin AZ [via mobile]

Love the chats dude. How soon before we start seeing crossover matches with Strikeforce fighters?

Jon Anik
  (12:57 PM)

Remains to be seen. We've been told that Strikeforce will continue with its business as usual. It is my expectation that eventually Strikeforce will be folded and several fighters will stay with the UFC. But that could be a few years away. Dana White will be on MMA Live tomorrow night.

Mike (NY)

JA, first time chatter here, big fan. Thoughts on Douglas Crosby working the main event with his track record of ineptitude?

Jon Anik
  (12:58 PM)

I thought Herb Dean was doing the fight between Jon Jones and Shogun Rua. Either way, I don't think the referee will be a hugely impactful component to what we see Saturday.

Matt (Seattle)

Huge week in MMA.. two biggest companies under one roof and possibly one of the best LHW matchups in recent history!

Jon Anik
  (12:58 PM)

Indeed. Great to be covering this fine sport.

Don (Pacific Coast)

What kind of weenie East Coast fans can't stay up until 1AM to watch a UFC PPV? This isn't the ballet it's Mixed Martial Arts! Do they have appointments at the doggy salon the next morning?

Jon Anik
  (1:00 PM)

As an East Coast fight fan, I can tell you that the bump up of the PPV window is a welcome change for me. When you are waking up at 6 or 7AM, it's hard to be awake for 18+ hours. I can't wait for the main events to start around 11:30 or so. Maybe I'm just old.

Jake (Jersey..)

What up Chost...can"t wait for Sat nite. I know you like Jonny Bones, but how and when do you see him winning?

Jon Anik
  (1:00 PM)

3rd round TKO. I think he'll eventually get the mount and start raining down elbows.

Dave (Philly)

is being an underdog a slap in the face to shogun?

Jon Anik
  (1:01 PM)

No. And Shogun doesn't see it as such. Jones has a ton of momentum b/c of the manner in which he is beating people. He's also more fresh in our minds, as Rua hasn't fought since last May. Not a big deal, to either party.

Stoke (Oregon)

Do you believe Dana's "business as usual" comments. I don't.

Jon Anik
  (1:02 PM)

For now, I do. But I'm most curious to ask him tomorrow if he feels at all weird 'promoting' Strikeforce. Seems strange to build up that brand, only to eventually dissolve it. Only time will tell.

Tim (Nyc)

Does Jon Jones show any signs of overtraining or anything from taking this fight on short notice coming off another tough fight?

Jon Anik
  (1:03 PM)

I'm sure he 'peeked the beast', as he likes to say. I doubt he overtrained, but I am curious to see how he handles all of the peripheral stuff. He has had a ton of media obligations, the Rashad Evans distraction, and only 6 weeks of preparation. He is also fighting - irrefutably - the toughest opponent of his career.

JP (Columbus, OH)

Kiper, Wilbon, Chad Ford, and Jon Anik all chatting at the same time. My choice is easy - I'm all about the Anik!!!

Jon Anik
  (1:03 PM)

Much obliged. I'm used to going head-to-head with Kiper every week. Not easy, but we manage.

Matt (NJ)

Are you going to allow me to gloat next Wednesday after Shogun beats your boy Jones?

Jon Anik
  (1:04 PM)

Sure thing.

Conor (Calgary)

Hey Chost, Congrats on getting MMA Live on TSN in Canada. When I found it on TV I immediately texted 4 friends (don't worry I wasn;'t driving)

Jon Anik
  (1:04 PM)

Thanks, Conor. Actually had no idea the show had been picked up by TSN. Thrilled when I found out on Twitter.

Mike (NJ)

I missed last chat, so I'm coming strong today, Anik. I hope you packed a lunch.

Jon Anik
  (1:04 PM)

Just pretzels today. Cutting weight for 128.

@Pappafeez (Dallas)

So many possible matchups... you got to be excited

Jon Anik
  (1:05 PM)

At the top of my list is Alistair Overeem vs. Cain Velasquez. I don't expect it to happen anytime soon, but that fight severely piques my interest.

Steve Dave ((az))

Do you have the NY UFC press conference up on your other monitor right now?

Jon Anik
  (1:05 PM)

Nope. I had the opportunity to go to the press conference today. But knowing that we'd be speaking to Dana White tomorrow, I preferred to stay here and chat with you guys.

Roman (CGY)

RIP Nate Dogg!

Jon Anik
  (1:06 PM)

Shocked and saddened. Hip-hop ruled my life in the 1990s.

jason (oh)

RIP women's MMA in mainstream? Or maybe can elbows on ground add some excitement with new unified rules?

Jon Anik
  (1:07 PM)

I don't believe the UFC will ever stage women's fights, nor do I think they should. I still think there will be spots for women to showcase their skills, but I understand why the UFC is lukewarm - at best- to it. As for elbows on the ground, I am not a huge proponent, but I understand why the UFC wants that consistency across both promotions.

Joe K (Dumont, NJ)

Picks for 128?

Jon Anik
  (1:08 PM)

I won't go too in-depth here, b/c as many of you know, we now do ESPN MMA staff picks on ESPN.com for all UFC PPVs. I took Brendan Schuab, Nate Marquardt, Jim Miller, Urijah Faber and Jon Jones on the main card. Feel most confident about Schaub.

Matt (Chicago)

What prelims are you looking most forward to for 128?

Jon Anik
  (1:09 PM)

Joseph Benavidez.

Younger (Redondo Beach, CA)

I feel like you are one of the most punctual guys when it comes to chats. Everyone else is always late. Keep up the good work.

Jon Anik
  (1:09 PM)

My pleasure, man. It's one of the best parts of my week. Wish I could be here longer.

Matt (NJ)

Why dont you like elbows on the ground? Because it gave your mancrush his only loss? :)

Jon Anik
  (1:11 PM)

Rarely do they finish fights. They just cause huge cuts that result in bloody canvases which, in turn, scare away TV executives.

James (MN)

Does Shogun get a rematch if Jones wins?

Jon Anik
  (1:11 PM)

No. Rashad Evans will get the next title shot.

vidal g (eburg, wa)

edgar vs gilbert who ya got

Jon Anik
  (1:11 PM)

Close fight. I like Frankie Edgar.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

Certainly is weird to see @Strikeforce comments being retweeted by @UFC

Jon Anik
  (1:11 PM)

Highly strange, but I get it.

Zach (Bethesda, MD)

Florian vs Mendes....who do you think wins?

Jon Anik
  (1:12 PM)

That would be a tough matchup for Florian. Y'all know how high I am on Mendes, having picked him as my 2011 Breakout Star of the Year. Until we see Kenny at 145, it's hard to make a prediction. But based upon the experience, the lean is towards K-Flo.

Tim (North Olmsted)

Yo Chost - has there been any word on Thiago Silva & his drug test?

Jon Anik
  (1:12 PM)

No update yet.

Jarric (Kansas)

I'm more excited about Mousasi and Overeem in the UFC then I am Fedor or Diaz. Which fighter or fighters do you think will make the biggest impact and how big of an impact (ex: title holder, challenger, etc).

Jon Anik
  (1:13 PM)

I think Overeem could make a huge impact and be the heavyweight champion. Also expect big things from both Mousasi and King Mo at 205. Don't let Lawal's last loss fool you. He is a man to be reckoned with.

michael (scotland)

jon jones' biggest test, one which i think he fails

Jon Anik
  (1:13 PM)

You are on the record. I disagree, but you already know that.

Jon Anik
  (1:14 PM)

Jon Jones will also be on MMA Live tomorrow. We'll also do a quick hit with Jim Miller.

Roy (Reno)

What are the fighters telling you off the record? No need to name names, just the general feeling of this merger.

Jon Anik
  (1:15 PM)

I definitely feel as though a lot of fighters are concerned. The elite guys will be just fine, but for the middle-of-the-pack fighters, it will be increasingly difficult to create leverage. The biggest winners in this exchange are the elite Strikeforce fighters and the casual MMA fans.

Will (New Orleans)

With the UFC moving towards being the NFL of MMA, does it increase the likelihood of the players unionizing? Could we see things like minimum salary scales for undercards, main cards, main events and veterans' minimums?

Jon Anik
  (1:17 PM)

Creating a fighter's union is exponentially easier said than done. In theory, it makes a ton of sense, especially now that the UFC has essentially eliminated its top competitor. But it's difficult to get off the ground. And I'd imagine the highest-paid fighters won't want any part of it.

vidal g (eburg, wa)

chost you do an excellent job!

Jon Anik
  (1:17 PM)

Thanks, dawg.

ian smith (england)

hi.has evans really left jacksons? i thought it would be jones leaving. whats your take on it? does jacksons see bones making more cash than evans

Jon Anik
  (1:18 PM)

Rashad is one of the most well-compensated fighters on the roster. Former TUF champion and former UFC light heavyweight champion. As to whether or not he has officially left Jackson's camp, he has not, to my knowledge. Rashad will be in Bristol later tonite. More on MMA Live tomorrow and I'll also have some updates on Twitter, so feel free to give a brother a follow- @Jon_Anik.

Jon Anik
  (1:18 PM)

And I hope you'll also follow @ESPN_MMA and @ESPN_MMALIVE.

Leo (Boston, MA)

Hi Jon,I know you love Bones Jones but getting the Champ at +155 seems like a nice bet.

Jon Anik
  (1:19 PM)

I guess there is some value on Shogun at that number. But, if you are in my boat and don't think he is gonna win, then it's a tough sell, regardless of the price.

Jake (San Diego)

The potential UFC-SF fights have me geeked: Fedor-Couture, Overeem-Cain, King Mo-Rampage, GSP-Diaz, Big Foot-Lesnar...

Jon Anik
  (1:20 PM)

We will do a segment on this topic tomorrow on MMA Live. 11PM ET, ESPN2.

John (Sioux Falls, SD)

Isn't Jones v. Shogun really a question of whether Jones' dynamic athleticism trumps Shogun's skill?

Jon Anik
  (1:21 PM)

I think Jones has closed the gap when it comes to skill. He's got many more weapons than he did when he made his UFC debut at UFC 87 back in 2008. I think the fight hinges upon Rua's ability to land kicks and make Jones respect his power early. Shogun is at a significant height and reach disadvantage. He must be able to thwart the early takedown or trouble ensues.

Adam R (Albany)

Would Royce Gracie in his prime beat GSP?

Jon Anik
  (1:22 PM)

No.

Adam R (Albany)

Chost, is it more damaging to be knocked out or choked out?

Jon Anik
  (1:22 PM)

Knocked out.

Mike (NJ)

If you were looking for holes in Bones' game to exploit, what do you think they would be?

Jon Anik
  (1:23 PM)

His chin hasn't really been tested. But it's hard to hit it. As of this point, we haven't seen any glaring weaknesses.

Matt (Seattle)

Does the MMA Live crew have a TUF correspondent yet?

Jon Anik
  (1:23 PM)

Not that I am aware of. Excited for Brock Lesnar's upcoming Bristol visit, though.

Chuck (Baltimore)

Where's a MMA prospect to go to develop his game now that UFC and Strikeforce merged? Just Bellator?

Jon Anik
  (1:25 PM)

As Lorenzo Fertitta said on Monday's conference call, there are literally thousands of local MMA promotions out there. Of course, many of them are low-profile and less organized. But there are always places and ways to develop as an MMA fighter. Once the big show calls, you've just got to be ready for the opportunity.

Jon Anik
  (1:25 PM)

Mike in Indiana- love ya, but please keep it short and sweet. Don't have time to read full paragraphs.

Marc (Malden, MA)

What do you think about BigFoot calling out Brock?

Jon Anik
  (1:26 PM)

I first interviewed Big Foot at the EliteXC debut back in 2007. Even then, he spoke of one day fighting for the UFC. I appreciate his enthusiasm for the possibility of one day fighting in the UFC. As for calling our Lesnar specifically, why wouldn't you? Any fight involving Brock is mammoth.

Joey (newark)

Hey Jon, what strategy would you use if you were Cro Cop this saturday/do you think he could win?

Jon Anik
  (1:27 PM)

Schaub is one of my favorite up-and-comers in the UFC. For Cro Cop to beat him, he'll have to turn back the clock. If he can get the leg kicks going early, that could keep Schaub at bay. But Brendan is a bull and I expect him to rush Cro Cop and finish him fairly quickly.

Nate (Minneapolis, MN)

I was at UFC 87 when I saw Bones in person, He will not lose this weekend!

Jon Anik
  (1:27 PM)

No argument here.

Tim (Nyc)

Why does everybody keep thinking that Fedor is going to fight in the ufc? hes still signed to M-1 as far as I know and they cross promote?

Jon Anik
  (1:28 PM)

I wouldn't say that 'everybody' is thinking Fedor will fight for the UFC. Most people I talk to don't think he'll ever grace the Octagon.

Carlos (NJ)

Should Schaub win on Saturday, where does that put him in the mix?

Jon Anik
  (1:28 PM)

Still below guys like Roy Nelson and Frank Mir, but perhaps in line for a fight with the winner of that fight. Or maybe even Shane Carwin.

Tom (Mesa)

Any idea who's being floated around as an opponent for Royce in rio?

Jon Anik
  (1:29 PM)

Hopefully someone old.

Danny Rube (LA)

Will people knock it off already with asking for Silva - Jones instead of Silva - GSP? Jones doesn't even have the belt [yet]. The whole point of the cross-weight-class bout is that each has defended the title six times already

Jon Anik
  (1:30 PM)

I like that analysis, Rube. I understand why people think a fight between Jones and Anderson Silva might be more exciting. But you are absolutely right...what puts the GSP-Silva fight at the top of my wish list is entirely based upon their UFC accomplishments and legacies.

Hutch (Boston)

Could we see a UFC run regional developmental "league" if you will?

Jon Anik
  (1:31 PM)

Doubtful. But the idea has merit. A UFCDL.

Matt (NJ)

@ Danny Rube - the point for me is I would rather have Silva move up in weight than GSP. Silva at LHW is more natural.

angelo (texas)

PICK MY QUESTION CHOSTdo you think overeem will jump ship if he cant do K-1?

Jon Anik
  (1:32 PM)

No, I don't. Overeem was here last month and made it very clear to me that MMA was his focus right now. I think The Reem is ready to prove his worth as the best MMA heavyweight in the world.

John (Sioux Falls, SD)

Isn't TUF kind of UFC's developmental league?

Jon Anik
  (1:32 PM)

In some part, yes. But it's still a reality show at its core.

Chad S (Chicago, IL)

With Kongo fighting Barry, who does that leave Shane Carwin with? Ben Rothwell?

Jon Anik
  (1:33 PM)

Rothwell is injured and will be out for some time. I still think a Carwin-Nelson fight makes a ton of sense. Hopefully, Shane won't have to wait too much longer.

Reid (MS)

Any chance you get Dana to look in the camera tomorrow and say, "Bellator, You're next!"

Jon Anik
  (1:33 PM)

:)

angelo (texas)

when is wanderlei coming back

Jon Anik
  (1:34 PM)

I believe he tweeted that he'll be fighting Chris Leben. Not exactly sure when or where.

Leo (Boston, MA)

Shogun was an underdog in his last three fights and you would have cashed a ticked in two of them.

Tim (Nyc)

Is the HWGP going to end up on PPV? and if Overeem wins it all does that seem like the logical time to absorb strikeforce?

Jon Anik
  (1:36 PM)

I think the HWGP finale is destined for PPV. As for a logical time to absorb Strikeforce, there are a lof of factors at play, not the least of which is the deal with Showtime. It expires in 2014. Perhaps Zuffa could get out of it early, but they likely won't be folding Strikeforce until the obligation with Showtime has been fulfilled.

Mike (NJ)

If the UFC absorbs SF, any notable you see not making the cut?

Jon Anik
  (1:37 PM)

I'm sure there will be plenty of omissions. There are 257 fighters on the UFC roster right now. 140 on the Strikeforce roster. Even if there is a major increase in the number of UFC shows, I'd be surprised if they ever let the roster swell above 300.

vidal g (eburg, wa)

How will Dana handle Overeem and his K-1 career?

Jon Anik
  (1:37 PM)

The UFC is unlikely to allow him to do both. But as stated previously, I don't expect it to be a huge issue, b/c Overeem is focused on his MMA career.

Bill (Chi-town)

Has the UFC ever been in a more dominant spot as an MMA organization then right now?

Billy (ATL)

K-1 has yet to pay Overeem for his Dec 2010 GP win, I dont think they are much threat to UFC to steal him away.

Jon Anik
  (1:38 PM)

That is the truth.

tim (vermont)

would you pay for a celebrity mma ppv? if so what two celebs would you most want to see fight?

Jon Anik
  (1:38 PM)

I would pay to see Patrick Willis in a cage. Also jonesin' to see Joe Rogan in there.

Steve (Trenton)

How do you think Jason Mayhem Miller would do in the UFC/Since his contract is up do you think they will sign him?

Jon Anik
  (1:39 PM)

I really like Miller. He's probably one of the more underrated middleweights out there. I don't love him against the elite UFC guys, necessarily. But I think he'd be very competitive overall.

Andrei (Princeton)

Any news if Fedor is going to fight the loser of Overeem/Werdum? or is there any hint from his team that he considering a move to 205 division?

Jon Anik
  (1:40 PM)

I think it's more likely that he will fight the Overeem/Werdum loser than it is he'll drop down to 205.

Leo (Boston, MA)

Not to get away from MMA but who's your Final 4?

Jon Anik
  (1:41 PM)

Wish I could do a bracket with all of you fine people. I have Duke, Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame. My championship game is Duke over Notre Dame.

Ben (Green Bay)

I can see Rogan having more trouble with his post-fight urinalysis than the fight in the octagon.

Jon Anik
  (1:42 PM)

He'd find a way to clean up. Devastating striker, I've heard. And a BJJ black belt. Really curious how much money it would take to get him to fight in some sort of MMA exhibition.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Do you think Dana White is praying Nick Diaz beats Paul Daley?

Jon Anik
  (1:43 PM)

I don't think he has given it one moment of thought. He has many greater issues at play right now. And he's already said that Daley's lifetime ban will be upheld. So, even if Daley is the Strikeforce WW champion at the time of a merger, he'll still, in all likelihood, be out of a job.

KAZ (PRice)

Jones is going to get Jimmered!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jon Anik
  (1:43 PM)

I will take your action.

Dan S. (No attention paid today )

RIP Nate Dogg. Unique voice in the rap game.

Jon Anik
  (1:43 PM)

We gave Nate Dogg some much-deserved love earlier in the chat. Regulate.

Will (Long Island)

Bruce Buffer vs. Joe Rogan - who wins and how?

Jon Anik
  (1:44 PM)

Rogan by brutal first-round TKO.

Baumer (NYC)

I think Rogan would fight JCVD or Snipes in a heartbeat.

Phil (Cincinnati)

Hey Jon, me and the wife are headed to Japan next week, was hoping to catch sight of Okami. Now I'm just hoping I can do some small part to help. Keep everyone there in your thoughts and prayers.

Jon Anik
  (1:44 PM)

Amen to that. Too often after a disaster, the thoughts and prayers evaporate within a few days. I've been glued to CNN. Total devastation.

Greg (Ellicott City)

Anik, you cant be no geek off the street.

Jon Anik
  (1:45 PM)

I literally drove to work listening to 'Regulate' today. RIP.

Nick (Chesterbrook, PA)

Schaub and Carwin train together at Grudge, right?128 looks like it's going to be fan-friendly. Jones, Rua, Faber, Wineland, Marquardt, and Akiyama? Not a lot of dead weight there...

Jon Anik
  (1:46 PM)

Yes they do. Still not out of the realm of possibility that they would fight down the line. But I'm sure it wouldn't be ideal for either guy. And you are spot on about UFC 128. Tremendous line-up.

Nate (Minneapolis, MN)

Does Wineland get the same chance at a belt if he wins that Faber would?

Jon Anik
  (1:46 PM)

He should. Not sure.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

I know you read my Celtics comment...you gotta be sad about Perk still

Jon Anik
  (1:47 PM)

Just ordered my #5 Oklahoma City Thunder player T.

Andrew (Orange Park, FL)

Shouldn't Melvin Guillard have a higher profile fight than one against Roller?

Jon Anik
  (1:47 PM)

Perhaps. But life isn't always fair and neither is life in the UFC. That's a tough matchup for Guillard. But if he's good enough to beat Edgar, Maynard or Pettis, he needs to beat Shane Roller.

vidal g (eburg, wa)

Do u think Dominick Cruz is a top p4p fighter?

Jon Anik
  (1:48 PM)

He wasn't in my Top 10, I don't believe. But he's in the top 15 on any list.

tim (vermont)

parlay marquardt and jones, yes?

Jon Anik
  (1:48 PM)

Go for it.

Dan S. (No attention paid today )

Your pick for FOTN sat? I've got Faber-Wineland

Jon Anik
  (1:49 PM)

Faber-Wineland is a distinct possibility. Schaub vs. Cro Cop could be in that mix if it sees a 2nd or 3rd round. I also think the Miller-Shalorus fight will be more exciting than the matchup might indicate.

James MacDonald (Scotland)

There's a video of Rogan helping GSP with his spinning back kick. GSP was blown away by the power Joe generated. You should check it out.

Matt (NJ)

Buy or Sell: Hendo vs. Anderson Silva, end of 2011.

Jon Anik
  (1:49 PM)

Hard sell. Been there, done that.

Matt (Seattle)

JA.. I take issue with Cruz not being in your top 10 p4p.. I will take Cruz against any 135er in the world

Jon Anik
  (1:50 PM)

I don't like rankings. They spark conversation, but they are largely useless. Everyone has an issue with something or another.

JD (VA)

You said a couple weeks back that you can see a bantamweight/featherweight bout as a PPV main event. Which fight do you see as main eventing a PPV between those weight classes?

Jon Anik
  (1:51 PM)

Part of my reasoning was that you wouldn't have a title fight sit below a non-title fight. So, I could see a fight like Cruz-Faber as a main event, with a strong co-main event, such as Sonnen vs. Bisping or something.

angelo (texas)

how do you think ben smooth henderson will do in his ufc debut?

Jon Anik
  (1:52 PM)

Mark Bocek is tough. I'll probably pick Henderson, but it's a fight I would never bet on.

Dave (NJ)

Jon - you were correct earlier, Herb Dean is reffing the main event. Doug Crosby is one of the appointed judges. He is also the one that scored Edgar / Penn I 50-45 for Edgar.

Jon Anik
  (1:52 PM)

Thanks. I don't think the judges will be needed for this one.

Devin (Vancouver, BC)

Favorite MMA technique? Mine is a perfectly executed leg kick.

Jon Anik
  (1:53 PM)

I think I might agree with you. I'm also a sucker for takedowns and judo throws. Submission-wise, give me a good kimura all day.

Carlos (NJ)

Besides GSP-Silva, any other super fights you would want to see if you could point the magic wand and make two fighters the same weight to fight?

Jon Anik
  (1:54 PM)

Miguel Torres v. Urijah Faber. Also would like to see Donald Cerrone against Frankie Edgar at 155.

Kyle (Indiana)

Guida a top contender if he stops Pettis?

Jon Anik
  (1:54 PM)

He would have to be. Not unlike Dennis Siver, if you beat the guy, you should 'be' the guy.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

Cain vs Reem

Jon Anik
  (1:55 PM)

They don't fight for the same promotion...yet. I addressed this earlier in the chat.

Serj (Dallas)

Damn I'm late! Have you lost any respect for Rashad since he seems to want to distract Jones from his title shot?

Jon Anik
  (1:56 PM)

I have a close personal relationship with Rashad Evans. I'm sure he has reasons for taking the stance he has taken. I am curious to talk to him about it tomorrow. And honestly, Rashad has enough haters.

Jon (Lowell)

Any idea when the UFC plans to come back to Boston?

Jon Anik
  (1:56 PM)

Hopefully this fall. If not, 2012 for sure.

tim (vermont)

who does rampage fight next? does he get a forrest rematch ever?

Jon Anik
  (1:57 PM)

He is fighting Matt Hamill May 28th at UFC 130. Rampage is still dying to fight Forrest Griffin again. It has to happen at some point, provided both guys stay active and healthy.

Phil (Cincinnati)

You had spoken before of a tension in the studio with Rashad and Jones, did that dissipate over time or do you feel the competitive juices still flow through those two to the point they might fight if Jones wins?

Jon Anik
  (1:59 PM)

There was a tension the first (and only) time they were together in Bristol. That dissipated b/c they got much closer after spending time together. But at this point, the competitive juices are flowing. My feeling is that Evans basically got to a point where he expected he'd have to fight Jones. So, rather than bemoan the fact, he has embraced it.

Pat (Boston)

People try to sugar coat Rua's loss to Forrest but don't you think that kind of paints a picture for Jones on how to beat him? Control the distance on standup and land shots from the ground

Jon Anik
  (1:59 PM)

Yes. Common sense coming out of Boston. No shocker there. :)

vidal g (eburg, wa)

Jones vs Rashad will happen!

Jon Anik
  (1:59 PM)

Concur.

Ethan (Baltimore)

why did dana even purchase strikeforce if he's letting scott coker run the show still, and he's not going to bring the strikeforce guys to the ufc. Also, where is M-1 global in all of this? I know dana hates them, and was wondering if they are still in the picture

Jon Anik
  (2:01 PM)

M-1 Global will still execute cards on Showtime, as will Strikeforce for the time being. The UFC acquired SF to strengthen its position as, unquestionably, the MMA leader. It may take some time before a merger/folding of Strikeforce, but I believe it's an eventuality. And when that happens, look out.

Reid (MS)

You give Rashad much of a chance against Jones?

Jon Anik
  (2:01 PM)

Not really. But don't tell him that. I took enough heat from Hendo over the last 2 weeks to last me a lifetime.

Travis (Dallas)

Does randy couture taking a fight with machida mean he's dedicated to one last run at the title?

Jon Anik
  (2:02 PM)

I think he took the fight because he likes the matchup and believes he can win it. I also think he would embrace a fight against Shogun Rua. But if Jon Jones is the UFC light heavyweight champion, I can all but guarantee you that Couture wouldn't want that fight.

Matt (NYC)

What is next for Frank Mir?

Jon Anik
  (2:02 PM)

Roy Nelson in May.

joe streitenberger (grove city ohio)

i think evans will beat jones and win the title

Jon Anik
  (2:03 PM)

I'd imagine you are in the minority, but I'd be happy to pass that along.

Ness (Los Angeles)

Jon, do you see a possibility of Daley staying with the promotion if (big IF to me) he beats Diaz? And if he doesnt, whos nest for Diaz?

Jon Anik
  (2:05 PM)

Strikeforce could conceivably be around through 2014. And I do think Daley will stay on board if he beats Diaz. But I also expect Dana White to stick to his word and uphold the lifetime ban. If Diaz wins, I have no idea who might be next in line at 170. Don't think Tyron Woodley is quite ready, but he may be deserving.

vidal g (eburg, wa)

What is Florian's weight at?

Jon Anik
  (2:05 PM)

Not sure. Haven't seen him in a few weeks. He continues to cheat on MMA Live.

Matt (NJ)

With as much of a competitor as Couture is, do you really think he would turn down a title shot against Bones?

Jon Anik
  (2:06 PM)

Didn't say that he would turn it down, but he won't go out of his way to campaign for that fight. And quite frankly, I don't think the UFC wants to stick him in there with Jon Jones.

Chad S (Chicago, IL)

Jon, with Dana in studio tomorrow, could you ask at commercial break what is next for Fitch/Penn? Thanks!

Jon Anik
  (2:06 PM)

He will be joining us via satellite from New Jersey, I believe.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Shouldn't the 170 and 185 lb divisions merge now. Diaz is the only guy at 170 and Jacare, Kennedy, Lawler are the only guys at 185.

Jon Anik
  (2:07 PM)

From a competition standpoint, it makes sense. From a logistical standpoint, it doesn't.

Bill (Boston)

I think Schaub is in trouble on Saturday. He's never faced a high level striker and Cro Cop looks fired up. Best Striker he has faced to date is Big Country and we know how that ended.

Jon Anik
  (2:08 PM)

I just think Schaub is a much better fighter than he was when he lost to Roy Nelson. But your scenario isn't out of the question - and the analysis is logical.

Tim K. (Chicago, IL)

I'm a big Jon Jones supporter, do you think he has the ability to go 5 rounds or will he wear himself out in the first couple of rounds?

Jon Anik
  (2:08 PM)

He can go 25 minutes, if need be. I don't think he'll be supremely fresh in the 5th round, should it go that far. But he'll be ready.

Jarric (Kansas)

Can you ask Dana White about Paul Daley and Josh Barnett tomorrow?

Jon Anik
  (2:10 PM)

He's already stated his case about Paul Daley. And right now, he's not gonna go out of his way to talk about Josh Barnett. I know what his answer will be- right now, Barnett will continue to fight for Strikeforce and that bridge will be crossed down the line. We are gonna iron out the questions for Dana shortly. Unlike a lot of the Internet sites on which you see interviews, we only have a short amount of time on ESPN2. So we've gotta be economical.

John (NYC)

Do you agree with Dana's assertion that the 'no fighting teammates' is mandated by trainers becuase they will keep more fighters that way since one guy can't corner two fighters.

Jon Anik
  (2:11 PM)

Not entirely. I think there are certain individuals that are very close and wouldn't fight each other, regardless of camp allegiance. Take Kenny Florian and Kurt Pellegrino. They have some similar training partners, but are part of different camps. And they would never fight each other.

Quinn (Nebraska)

Why is no one giving Shogun a chance? Jon Jones has never fought a champion and fighting the likes of stephan bonnar is a completely different fight.

Jon Anik
  (2:13 PM)

PLENTY of people are giving Shogun a chance. Heck, I'm giving him a chance, even though I'm not picking him to win. I will say, however, that you can't beat an elite guy until you face one. And when Jones fought Ryan Bader, Bader was undefeated. And he made the 2x All-American look as though he'd never wrestled before.

Reid (MS)

Will Florian be able to finish broadcasts at 145?

Jon Anik
  (2:13 PM)

Hahahahahahaha

Carlos (NJ)

Jon, when do we see MMALive get more airtime and on ESPN and not just ESPN2 at like 2am?!

Jon Anik
  (2:14 PM)

Preaching to the choir. I've been fighting for MMA for more than 3 years here and I don't plan to stop.

vidal g (eburg, wa)

What is Pat Militech like in person?

Jon Anik
  (2:15 PM)

The Man. Such a cool dude. He is himself, on and off camera.

just blaze (ill)

Pay cell phone bill order 128 Wat do u do

Jon Anik
  (2:15 PM)

Pay cell phone bill and go to someone's house for UFC 128.

Andrew (Orange Park, FL)

If you're turning down fights because you don't want to get hurt, then why fight at all?

Jon Anik
  (2:16 PM)

Not so much about getting hurt as it is not accepting a fight you don't think you can win. But I hear ya.

Johnny (Minneapolis)

Been a long time since I've been able to join a chat Jon! Your thoughts on Nick vs. Nate Diaz, would they do it?

Jon Anik
  (2:16 PM)

Those dudes are crazy. If the money was right, I wouldn't put it past them.

Scott (SF)

Jon Jones' cardio will be his downfall. Shogun will win by TKO in RD4

Dominic (NM)

Do you like Rousimar Palhares? I think he's a future contender

Jon Anik
  (2:17 PM)

Devastating jiu-jitsu. Borderline dirty fighter who nobody wants to fight.

just blaze (ill)

U rock anik weekly for a year love Ur opinions ain't gotta post just showing love

Jon Anik
  (2:17 PM)

Appreciate it. Go blaze.

joe streitenberger (grove city ohio)

who is tito fighting and who is bonnar fighting

Jon Anik
  (2:18 PM)

Tito is recovering from a 22-stitch cut suffered in training. Bonnar is anxiously awaiting word on his next opponent.

Davis (California)

Any Chance we get to see Patrick Willis vs Herschel Walker in the Cage with the NFL Lockout going on i know Willis Trains in MMA during the offseason?

Jon Anik
  (2:19 PM)

No shot. I like Herschel, but no way he would fight a prime beast like Patrick Willis.

Chris (Boise, ID) [via mobile]

Is Fight Night 24 in Seattle as stacked as I think it is? For a fight night I mean

Jon Anik
  (2:19 PM)

Definitely more stacked than your average fight night card.

Corey (Pensacola)

So I've been trying to convince Jordan Breen in his weekly Friday chats to invite you on his show or to his Press Row segment. No such luck so far.

Jon Anik
  (2:20 PM)

Haha. Appreciate the effort. I've been on with most of the Sherdog guys, but Breen doesn't seem interested. All good.

Matt (Seattle)

Being in Seattle...THANK YOU UFC!

Jon Anik
  (2:20 PM)

Hoping to be on 710 ESPN at some point before the fights to promote.

Chan (Boston)

can we see cyborg santos vs jose aldo for the featherweight belt??

Jon Anik
  (2:21 PM)

Doubtful. No cross-gender fights.

michael R (miami)

can i get a answer

Jon Anik
  (2:22 PM)

Hit me up on Twitter- @Jon_Anik. We get over 1,000 questions an hour in this chat. Impossible to get to everyone.

Jon Anik
  (2:23 PM)

Alright, heads. Must bounce. Overflow questions can be sent to me on Twitter- @Jon_Anik. Must be following in order for me to send you a direct message. MMA Live with Dana White, Jon Jones and Rashad Evans is tomorrow, 11PM ET on ESPN2. And I'll be at UFC 128 on Saturday. So, if you're in the building, come say hello. -JA