What's up guys? Hope everyone's having a good week. You all looking forward to the UFC returning Saturday? On Fuel, Alexander Gustaffson welcomes Thiago Silva back to the mix. I'm taking Silva, but I think I'm in the minority here. Tell me what you guys think. Also, who's gonna fight JDS? I'm thinking that might come up.
After Rampage Jackson's recent shady comments about TUE, the UFC can't possibly let Overeem fight, can they?
Hey Raff. Well, technically the decision is not up to the UFC. It's up to the Nevada commission. Overeem needs to get a license to fight in Las Vegas and seeing as how he just failed a drug test, it's not looking good. You can bet all the money in the world though that if by some miracle they do license him, the UFC will absolutely let him fight JDS.
Brett - Have you heard of a front runner stepping in for The Reem? I would love for Hendo to step in and face JDS. Both men can take some shots. Stand up war or All American wrestling vs BJJ? How do you see this fight if it happend?
If it happened, I think Junior's size and athleticism would be a problem. Dan Henderson, in his prime, was a middleweight. Now, you'd be asking him to fight at heavyweight at an age where he's inevitably starting to lose a bit of his speed and strength? That's a tough one. Stylistically, Dan has the tools I think a guy needs to beat JDS. Good on his feet defensively, capable of wobbling him with knockout power, terrific wrestler. But Junior is way bigger and he'd still be faster.
Any updates on the Overeem situation? What's your feeling on the situation/what will the outcome be?
The Nevada commission has him on the agenda for April 24. It's expected he'll make an appearance and attempt to get licensed. My feeling is there's no way the NSAC goes easy on him. I was at the meeting when they licensed him for the Lesnar fight, despite the fact he had a lot of problems submitting his out of competition random drug test. My guess is he doesn't get licensed and there is a possibility (not necessarily one strong though) the UFC cuts him.
whats your best guess on overeem replacement? Any way he fights JDS in May at this point?
I wrote a blog on Frank Mir being the obvious Plan B that hit ESPN.com this morning. Everyone pegged him as the choice early but then Dana tweeted "Mir vs. Cain will happen." I don't think I believe that. If Overeem can't go, which I doubt he will, I'd bet the house it's Frank.
Brett, I've watched a lot of videos and interviews detailing the personal beef between Jones & Evans. It just seems like Rashad may be a little envious of Jon in my opinion, sort of big brother's mad that lil brother stole his thunder. What's your take?
That's probably a part of it. I'm not sure if this feud between the two can even be simplified into an easy theory like that, though. I think it's multiple things. When Rashad talks about how cocky Jon Jones has become, that part of it seems very real to me. When Rampage did it, it seemed like a way to hype the fight. When Rashad does it, it appears to me at least, that this is a guy who knew Jon before he turned into "BONES JONES!" and he thinks that fame has kind of changed him. Plus, there's the added element of the team and it clearly appears he somewhat feels that Greg Jackson picked JJ over him. So, it's a deep feud. Sometimes I question how real these feuds are in the UFC. I don't question this one.
Alves v. Sexyama. Fight actually excites me. But that has to be loser goes home, right?
I don't know. For Akiyama, yes, I would have to think so. Alves? He's very popular and, I mean, he WAS like 50 seconds away from beating Martin Kampmann. So, I'll say Akiyama's job is on the line but it's still a must-win for both guys.
When will the UFC have an event in the Philippines?
I know that getting The Ultimate Fighter on in the Philippines is a huge priority for them. Once that happens, I would think a live event there wouldn't be far behind. I had heard whispers Philippines TUF was going to debut this year, but that's just a rumor at this point. Either way, it's not far off.
wat up moto excited about this next strikeforce card when gil beats thomson will they finally bring him up to the big leagues and give him his shot
San Jose, so you going to the fight? As much as I want to say we'll see Gil in the UFC very soon, I honestly can't. I would think he wants to fight again in 2012 ... and it just doesn't look like the Zuffa is willing to bring him over. So, if I had to guess, sorry man. I think Gil defends his title again.
Jon Jones will destroy Rashad Evans
It's hard to outright argue with you on that one, seeing as how Jones is destroying everyone. But EVANS HAS A CHANCE! And I'm not just saying that for the sake of conversation. I picked Jones to win easy against Rampage and Machida, like I didn't really give either of those guys a real shot. With Evans though, I think this could be a close fight.
What do you with Gustafsson if he beats Silva? Someone like Shogun for a #1 contenders fight? Bader?
Yeah, probably Bader. The only reason to not have that fight would be there is just not too many guys at 205 to get excited about, so to have Gustafsson (if he wins) take on Bader (who's stock is rising again) would burn one of the few you have.
what other sports do you have a strong working knowledge of? You know, because there's only so many times someone can ask and you can answer questions regarding GSP-Silva-Jones megafights.
GSP/Silva/Jones are definitely staples of most MMA chats, although even with no fights going on lately I feel like we haven't completely run out of topics. As far as other sports, I'm pretty up to date on the big three. I follow MLB the closest though.
What is your guess on how much money Overeem is going to cost himself? Just normal contract to fight plus pay per view money has to be in the millions right?
Millions might be pushing it. One million even, though? I'd think that's ballpark.
Yo Brett. Hey im taking Thiago too, and we are in the minority. I think people forget how good he was. He got stopped by Machida, when Machida was finishing everyone, but almost finished Evans in the 3rd. It will be interesting to see Saturday.
I think a lot of people kind of have a cloudy memory about that Rashad fight. It was kind of a stalemate in the first two rounds. Rashad took the fight to the ground occasionally but he had trouble keeping it there. It got hung up on the fence a lot. Then in the third, like you said Zach, Thiago clipped him but was too gassed to go after him. Thiago doesn't have a ton of signature wins to hang your hat on, but I thought he looked better than most do in that Rashad fight and he wasn't 100 percent.
Brock starts his MMA career coming out of college and no illnesses. Where does this hypothetical career stand?
If he had started out of college, then I honestly don't think it's crazy to think he could have been one of the best ever. He obviously works hard. I don't think he would have ever been a standup guy, but he would have gotten comfortable there and he had a good chin. People say his chin sucked, no, he just didn't react well to getting hit. He could take a punch. I would say in that scenario, Brock is easily one of the top five GOAT.
Hi Brett,Have you heard anything regarding the location for Henderson vs Edgar II? Any chance it could take place in Arizona?
Given the timing of things and from a few conversations I've had, it looks like barring injury that fight takes place in August at UFC 150. I've heard one location as the front runner. Haven't heard anything about it being in Arizona.
If Bones destroys Rashad, how about he take on JDS?
Yeah, I've thought about that but it's such a fast turnaround ... Jones is obviously a candidate for the future face of the UFC. Do you really want his first heavyweight fight to be on short notice? I know he could easily put on some weight, but what kind of weight? Yeah, he could walk into the cage at 235-245 range, but it wouldn't be the type of weight gain you'd see on him if he had time to change his body. I think it'd be a great fight, but from a business standpoint I don't see it happening.
Could the UFC fight Nick Diaz or Overeem in another country like Brazil, Canada or Japan to avoid the suspensions?
Technically, I believe so, but that's generally frowned upon. It's like, "Well, he cheated, but oh well." The UFC doesn't want that kind of reputation. They'll respect suspensions from any commission.
How dumb does Overeem and his camp have to be to fail this test? Random? Yes. But they knew one was coming...
Indeed they absolutely, 100 percent should have known it was coming. Hard to make sense of. From what I've heard, Overeem looked less than comfortable when it all went down in the back of the MGM.
Cant wait for Fox3. Who are your picks for that card? Mine - Diaz, Hendricks, Belcher, Barry.
These are my early picks so you can't hold me to them. As you guys know I like to rewatch fights before I put out Red Ink, but early leans to Diaz, Koscheck, Belcher and Johnson.
Who is the best fighter to never win a title?
Hmmm good question. Assuming we're saying UFC only here? Off the top of my head, I'd go Kenny Florian. Others that come to mind ... Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck ... I'm sure we could come up with others ...
How about a Maurice Smith vs. Herschel Walker fight? Could this make a UFC card?
I'd watch it, but not a fight UFC would put together. Herschel Walker, as ridiculously impressive as the dude is, won't ever fight in the UFC.
Have you heard anything about the rumored Carwin vs Kongo fight? Makes sense to me.
I've been trying to get in contact with Carwin this week, hoping to talk to him soon. Judging from a few of his twitter remarks, it looks like he hasn't been medically cleared yet to accept a fight. He's in the gym, but he's not quite at a point where the UFC can book him. When he is, Kongo is a logical opponent. Give me Carwin all day on that one, long layoff or not.
If it is Frank who does Cain fight? Please dont tell me Cain will be delayed!
Nah, they'd shuffle up the card so that Cain still fought. I guess looking at it, Mark Hunt would probably be the one to step up. If fans want to see the guy in the main event, surely they want to see him in the co-main.
After all the drama with Bones vs. Evans, does this give more camps added fuel to push not to make teammate vs. teammate fight? Seems likes most of these camps and fighers regard each member like family.
I think it varies between camps. Just because guys train at the same gym doesn't mean they're best friends either. They might roll with one another and help each other get better, but at the end of the day they still might not have developed a strong friendship. I think Greg Jackson has taken it as he needs to set up a formal policy in his gym that gets this stuff out in the open before it becomes a mess because of public comments.
Hello sensei. Taking about Reem, since he failed the test again. Whats with his win about Lesnar considering that he was late in submitting the urine test prior the fight?
Haha, never been called sensei before. It's strangely appealing. The win over Lesnar won't change. Yes, testing clean was a stipulation the NSAC required of Overeem to keep his one-year conditional license. That's just the license though. It doesn't affect the result of the first fight on that one-year license, that make sense? So, basically, he forfeited that one-year conditional license since he failed the test.
What happens if(and its a big "if"), jones loses to evans next week? how far back will that set jones in his ultimate goal of moving up to heavyweight? what will henderson do then, fight evans?
Depending on how the fight goes yeah, Henderson would fight Evans. Even it's a razor close fight, Henderson would still fight Evans, because Hendo's been waiting. The only way they'd do an immediate rematch is if there was something ridiculously, ludicrously controversial. Jones would fight another 205er, one fight he'd be back in the title picture, then I don't know what it would do to the heavyweight timeline. Depends on if there were any 205ers to challenge him after all that played out.
Siyar Bahadurzada is an interesting test for Paulo Thiago. I don't think Francis Carmont is necessarily a future title contender, but I think he can be exciting to watch. He's on the prelims.
Sorry, forgot to post the question to that one ...
Hi Brett. Pumped for the UFC's return this weekend. Anybody we should be looking out for on the undercard of UFC Sweden? Always enjoy newcomers...
There we go.
you are picking siva to beat gustafsson. if that becomes reality, where does that put silva in the pecking order for a shot at jones(or evans if he pulls off a miracle)?
Well, we said Gustafsson vs. Bader would make sense. Thiago Silva would make equal sense to me. With how thin the 205 pound division is right now, if he were to win both of those fights convincingly, we could be looking at a title contender. Not sure where Phil Davis would fit in to all of this, though. If Thiago runs into Davis, that might be some trouble.
Does Overeem's positive test make it harder for the UFC to bring in Barnett if he wins the SF tourney, given Barnetts past?
Personally, I don't think so. I think Barnett's issues are enough in the past that a majority of UFC fans aren't even aware of them. I would think, though, they might have a conversation with him before officially signing him like, "Seriously. You can not fail a drug test if we do this. Seriously."
How is a guy that is 14-2 and has only lost to Evans and Machida a -240 dog to Gustafsson?
His (Thiago Silva) wins haven't come, arguably, against elite competition. He's also coming off a long layoff and I think it just shows what oddsmakers think of Gustafsson. He's a nightmare matchup as far as his frame and length go, he's worked on his wrestling and he's a solid striker. I'm not surprised by the line but in Red Ink, I definitely wrote the value is on Silva.
Even if Overeem is allowed to face JDS, do you think its wise for UFC to keep him in the title fight and risk the backlash of their potential champion being labeled a fraud?
There is that potential but at the end of the day, even if you think Overeem is a cheater, chances are you're buying that PPV before you buy the one with Mir headlining. The UFC is a professional sport, but it's also a business.
Does the UFC change their ticket prices for free shows (UFC on FX, UFC on Fuel) versus PPV shows. I am trying to budget properly for UFC on FX 4 in AC and spent a fortune the last time it was in Philly.
The reality behind ticket prices is that they are based on the venue, not necessarily the show. For instance, The Ultimate Fighter Finale is in Las Vegas every year. It can be a fun card to watch, right? You just saw these guys on TV ... but it's not like this blockbuster card that sells out in five minutes. The Palms, where the card is held, typically prices those seats out at like a max of over $400. That's crazy to me. But it's the venue's decision. So, I don't know if that answers your question or not. Yes, a ticket to FX in AC would cost less, I'd imagine, than a PPV but these things fluctuate.
Hey Brett, got a chance to talk to one of the cut-men in Chicago back in January and he was saying how cool of a guy Chael Sonnen is, despite his outwardly cocky persona... do you, being in the position to get to know some of these guys, have any insight for us fans on who some of the more down-to-earth, cool guys are? Anybody a real jerk?
Behind the scenes, Chael Sonnen is a cool guy. I haven't hung out with him as much as some other guys, but I was in Bristol, CT with him about a year ago and we filmed MMA Live and he was down-to-earth, funny. I'd say a huge majority of these guys are like that. Can't think of many I would classify in the real jerk group.
Do you know if Rory McDonald and GSP would have any problem fighting for the WW title, should GSP still be champ when Rory inevitabely becomes the #1 contender?
I remember talking to Rory before the Mike Pyle fight and I honestly can't remember if I specifically asked him whether or not he'd fight GSP, but I remember thinking he absolutely sounded like he would. We were talking about those two working together and, obviously he was very respectful of GSP, but he seems like the true "I'm here to be the best mixed martial artist on the planet and if that means I have to fight a teammate, than I'll fight a teammate." You know what I mean? There are just some guys who don't care about those kinds of things. I think Rory is one of them.
So if ZUFFA keeps Gil down in triple-A for another fight after the trilogy with Thompson, who does he fight? Do they take someone down to fight him from the bigs?
Doubtful. They'll have to find someone already in Strikeforce or potentially sign an outside 155er to maybe a one-fight deal in SF? But even then, you run into the problem of what if he wins? Like, just for an example, let's say they tried to sign a guy like Aoki or Alvarez. And they're like, oh, let's have him fight Gil in a one-fight deal then have him go to UFC. If he wins, that's all screwy now. The Strikeforce stuff is fine with 85% of the roster but for guys like Gil and Rockhold, it's kind of a mess.
Does Dana have anyone else in mind besides Mir? Was really looking forward to his fight with Cain.
UFC is keeping pretty quiet on the subject right now and I expect them to until it's official Overeem can't fight. There are some other options out there that have been talked about in the media, but to me it's definitely Frank Mir.
Siver vs Nunes looks like the cant miss FOTN to me.
I agree, that should be a good one. Not an awful main card for a Fuel show. I enjoy watching Brad Pickett fight. Siver/Nunes is good. I'm intrigued by the main event.
Brett, while I am happy South Florida finally got a UFC card, did Dana have to give us flyweights? I mean if Minnesota, Atlanta, and Portland can get big fights why not Miami? Perfect place for a fan expo.
I'm not an expert on the South Florida MMA scene, so I'll have to take your word for it that it's strong. I will say it'd be an easy sell to get people to travel to. "Hey, we're having a Fan Expo 20 minutes from South Beach." Fine ... I guess I'm in. I will say don't hate on the flyweights though. That will be a great fight, even if McCall and Johnson aren't huge names yet. Wish it was a five rounder, but understand why it can't be.
Do think the UFC has put to much stock in these lower weight classes to soon? a mean There is already no challenge for Aldo at 145 & after Faber there is only renan barao at 135 not much to get excited about down there.
That's just the way it is sometimes. I mean, after Overeem I've already seen plenty of fans say they're not interested in seeing Mir and Velasquez just lost to him. The smaller weight classes will get deeper. There's no clear challenge for Aldo right now, but maybe after Poirier fights again and Koch gets healthy (and Edgar drops down) that could become one of the most exciting divisions overnight.
Is the horse meat argument going to work for Reem when he testifies before the commission?
Guess we'll find out. I better start doing my horse meat research so when the time comes, I'll be ready to break it down for you guys.
Tigers are looking good thus far!
And the Rox are looking awful thus far. It's early.
There is no way Jones dominates Rashad. Rashad is too fast and too smart. Jones win by decision - 49-46 or 48-47, but it will be much closer than people think. Everyone underrates Rashad.
Hi Brett. Call me insane but I'd like to see Bonnar given another shot at Bones. Sure he got beat up the first time - but, unlike others since, he did stay the distance & took the shots. you could guarantee he'd go hell-for-leather at the title beserker-style!
You, LarrySandersJoe, are crazy. I've never heard anyone say they want to see Bonnar given another shot against Bones, not even Bonnar himself. I like your support of the guy, but ... just ... no.
Is there a non zero chance that Jon Jones would be offered and take the JDS fight if he finished Rashad quickly? Talk about building legend.....what an opporunity that would be.
I can't say there is a zero chance, but like I said, it'd be a risk to rush him into that, plus Dan Henderson is waiting and that's a decent money fight for the UFC. I'll give it a 6 percent chance.
Can UFC write some kind of their own penalty into the contract with fighters for failing drug tests?
They absolutely could. It's not really necessary for them to do so right now, at least from their standpoint, because they have the power to punish their fighters pretty much however they want.
Miguel Torres vs Michael MacDonald is going to be an awesome fight that not many are talking about. Cant wait for this fight, as MacDonald is going to make a statement in what I see a FOTN.
Yeah, going to be a good fight. Way I see it, Miguel Torres has to get him to the ground. Torres' best talent is still offensive grappling and that's an area we haven't seen McDonald operate in too much yet. On the feet, I think McDonald is too quick for him, counters too well.
Hey Brett, anything new about Condit or St Pierre and does the UFC has any plan in coming to Mexico?
Nothing new Arturo. Still looks like November.
Brett Okamoto...let me ask you this. Rockies off to slow start. Season over?
Absolutely not, but ... the 49-year-old Moyer experiment can't last longer than three more games. Chacin doesn't look like he cares. We're going to be relying on the offense all year, which is full of guys who are notorious for going through hot and cold streaks. I admit, I'm not extremely optimistic here.
Brett, how do you think Jones v Evans will end? Once it does happen, do you think their beef will be squashed like rampage v jones?
I could see a few different scenarios playing out. 1. I could see Rashad working a brilliant game plan. Getting inside on Jones. Taking him down. Frustrating him on his back, similar to Phil Davis fight. Crowd boos, but Rashad takes the decision.2. I could see Rashad working that brilliant game plan enough so that everyone is like, I can't believe it! He's gonna win! And then, Rashad gets caught, stumbles, goes for the desperate single leg but Jones finishes him.3. Jones rolls right through him. So much so that even the ones who were saying, Jones will destroy him! are like ... damn. Even I didn't expect that.
I know you are not a network expert, but you have any info on when all the cable networks like comcast and time warner will start carrying Fuel? And is the UFC pushing hard for them to do so? I cant get Directv in my condo and am really hating missing all this UFC content! I guess you may not even be able to post this question on ESPN, but i'll ask anyways
Dana was really gungho about this after the Fox deal where he was like, Don't worry. We're working on it. Well, apparently that didn't go well because a few weeks later he looked at his shoes and was like, Tell them they need to get DirectTV. You're right, I'm not an expert when it comes to broadcasting deals, but I think there will probably be some timeline that comes up and they can renegotiate this and at that point it will depend on what the demand is from these cable customers for Fuel TV.
If rousimar Palhares beats Belcher does he get a number one contender bout?.... I believe he is the best Jiu Jitsu guy the UFC has with great wrestling. And that is what makes good
Palhares is definitely a guy you don't want to fight right now in the UFC. Is he to the point of a No. 1 contender fight yet? No. He doesn't have the name power and he's got guys ahead of him. Munoz, Bisping, Weidman, Belfort ... all still ahead of him even if he beats Belcher.
Brett - If you were able to punch a UFC fighter in the face and not get hit back, who would it be?
Probably Leonard Garcia but he doesn't seem to feel it as much as the other guys and I don't think he'd hold it against me.
does gustaffson train at alliance MMA?
He still has his original trainers but they work together with Alliance.
Who is the next guy to put a run like Silva or GSP together defending the belt? I'm not counting Jones because if he moves up to HW the clock sort of restarts.
I'd say Dominick Cruz is quietly doing it. I think Urijah is best equipped to beat him, so if Cruz wins the rubber match, he's got his toughest opponent officially behind him. I like Barao, McDonald ... Not against Cruz though.
Seriously though everyone who followed Overeem's career knew he started juicing at some point between Pride and now. Even sanctimonious writers (who shunned the realists and said he never failed a test) knew it in their hearts. It's like when Bonds grew a second forehead and Cyborg grew an Adam's apple.
As a writer for ESPN, I'm careful to just spout off random allegations against fighters. Did it look suspicious? Yes, it did. The fact is he never did fail a test though, and until one does, I tend to give a guy the benefit of the doubt. If there's one aspect in all of this that needs to be pointed out, it's that obviously at this point we understand just how AWFUL drug testing procedures were in Japan. For a guy to come to Vegas and EVERYBODY knows he's going to get tested, and yet, he doesn't realize it himself, that just shows he got used to some ridiculously lenient testing overseas.
The correct answer to putting together a Silva type run is Jose Aldo - c'mon now Brett!
Fair point Brian. However, I see Aldo losing before I see Cruz losing. Erik Koch is capable. Dustin Poirier is capable. If Edgar moves down, I'm pretty sure I would make him the outright favorite.
Cruz quietly doing a SIlva streak? Really?? How about Aldo? He defended the belt 5 times, and got 2 KOs also...
That's true. If we're talking simply wins, then Cruz is putting together (and I believe will continue putting together) a Silva-esque streak. He doesn't finish guys though. Aldo is winning and finishing, nearly on a Silva level. So, both good answers. I'm still sticking to my prediction though that Aldo will lose before Cruz.
Cruz has more of a GSP type streak of decision wins ... Silva has been finishing nearly everyone he fought
Yep. There it is. I think we've reached the correct answer here.
No way Edgar beats Aldo, i'd bet the farm on it.
Edgar took BEN HENDERSON down. He did it a lot in that fight. Thing is, we'll forget about it because Henderson popped right back up. And watching that night in Japan I thought he was able to get back to his feet so easily, in part, because of his size. I think Edgar could do what Chad Mendes wanted to do against Aldo, make him fight off his back for long periods of time.
Ninety minutes strong today guys, I like it. I think we're all starting to get back in the swing of it with a busy MMA schedule coming up. Enjoy the Fuel card this weekend (if you have Fuel. If not, make a new friend who has Fuel.) We'll do it again next Wednesday. I'll be in Atlanta setting up for Jones/Evans. Good stuff as always. Hit me on Twitter anytime @bokamotoESPN. Come on Rox.