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May 16, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Brett Okamoto

Brett Okamoto
  (1:01 PM)

Would not be surprised to see Korean Zombie on a UFC on Fox card in the near future. He has the nickname, which you don't think is a big deal, but people naturally just want to see what a Korean Zombie is. Then of course, you have his style, which has produced ridiculously entertaining fights in all of his U.S. appearances. No English hurts his chances, but he's so likeable despite that. I could see definitely see it. With that, let's get to your questions.

James from worcester [via mobile]

Hi Brett, Who's your top 3 pound for pound mma athletes in the game right now?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:02 PM)

Are you asking who are the top ATHLETES or the top fighters? Fighters I'm the same as most, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Georges St. Pierre. Miniscule, miniscule gap between Silva and Jones.

Ryan (NYC)

Hey Brett, I know this is a couple weeks old but can you give an evaluation of the performances of former TUF guys Dodson and Bermudez on May 5th?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:05 PM)

Neither really wowed us but an important thing with guys coming right off TUF is they found a way to win. They're both still developing, especially Bermudez. Pablo Garza isn't a terrific wrestler but he can be dangerous. Good win for Bermudez. If you can turn to what you're good at and grind through a tough win against a motivated opponent, you're doing something right.

Guy (Chicago)

I was a regular with Anik but then I scheduled a class for 12:30-2:30. So here's a late late late welcome. So, should the Korean Zombie get a title shot?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:07 PM)

Nice to have you Guy, thanks for the welcome. My answer is sure, give Zombie a shot. If Poirier had won we'd be all over giving it to him, even though if you look at the guys he'd beat there was no one there in the same caliber of what'd he see against Aldo. Zombie has been more impressive to me than Hatsu Hioki. I'm cool with him getting the shot.

Terry (Pittsburgh)

Concerned Mir will get knocked out in first minute of fight. Nogueira almost knocked out Mir and Dos Santos is a better boxer. Your thoughts?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:09 PM)

It's always possible. As much as Mir said he wasn't looking past Big Nog though, I think he was looking past Big Nog. You can't underestimate an opponent in the heavyweight division because one punch can change everything between 250-pound guys. I think he'll be more dialed in early for this fight. So, I don't think it will be an early stoppage but you never know.

blah blah blah (work)

can anyone beat Bones Jones??????

Brett Okamoto
  (1:10 PM)

Maybe a heavyweight. Right now in the entire sport, I'd give Anderson Silva a good shot. Junior Dos Santos a good shot. Cain Velasquez a somewhat decent shot. Alistair Overeem ... a bad shot but still a shot. That's about it though.

Brian F. (San Diego)

Brett, what's next for Cerrone? I don't like that he called out Nate Diaz being that Nate destroyed him. Pettis/Cowboy would be a great matchup.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:12 PM)

Nate didn't really destroy him, but he sucked him out of his game. Cerrone got tunnel vision in that fight bad and he's admitted that. That's why he wants to fight him again because he knows he can beat him and I can see that, but Diaz is higher on the ladder than him. Why would Diaz go back down after taking out Jim Miller to refight a guy he already beat? With you on Showtime/Cowboy. That'd be awesome. Five rounds please.

Matt (AZ)

Rumor has it that there was MMA on TV last night. I couldn't get it as I have Comcast. When is this problem going to be solved? I feel like the UFC is losing momentum. Used to always see fights on Spike and now I see more Bellator on TV than UFC.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:14 PM)

Matt, I am unfamiliar with the details of your personal cable plan but I have Cox Cable out in Las Vegas and it cost me $6 a month to add Fuel. It's lame you have to pay an extra charge and waaaay lamer that it's in standard definition for me, but at least you get to see the fights. The UFC was optimistic it could get Fuel on everything early in the Fox deal, but that assault appears dead. Dana has pretty much admitted, you need to buy Fuel. The UFC is putting Fuel on the map more though, so eventually it could happen.

David Y. (Chicago, IL)

Brett, how do you honestly think Korean Zombie will do against Aldo?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:16 PM)

Honestly, not too good. Poirier seemed a little stiff at the beginning of rounds last night, I think we all forgot how young this guy is and it was the first time he headlined a card. I also underestimated Zombie's ground game. It's heavy and controlling from the top, as Poirier mentioned after the fight. Aldo is experienced and despite what Hominick did to him for five minutes one night in Toronto, I don't think he's bad off his back. I do like the fact Zombie is such a pressure fighter though with a great chin. Maybe he clips Aldo and continues to swarm him. That's one scenario I can see in favor of Zombie.

Ken (ca.)

Brett, are you giving Mir a good shot vs JDS?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:18 PM)

I'm giving him a far better shot than oddsmakers are. The odds are like what, -400 for JDS? Somewhere around there? JDS is untested on the ground. I understand that's because he's so athletic and difficult to takedown, but do you really want to take a 4-to-1 favorite ... who you've never seen on the ground against the best submission heavyweight in the UFC right now? JDS also gets hit. His boxing is terrific but he was a little beat up after Carwin and Roy Nelson fight. Mir's got a shot. I'm not counting him out.

Scott (Salt Lake City)

Is Dan Raphael the newest MMA fan at ESPN?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:18 PM)

Seemed like he enjoyed the show last night.

Ed (Work)

Not sure if you got to it...were you surprised by the lines for Fuel? Zombie +265 and Stephens 250

Brett Okamoto
  (1:20 PM)

Nah, not really. The Zombie line proved to be off but Poirier had looked so good in multiple areas (striking, submissions) lately, that's always going to affect the line. Cerrone tends to be a little overvalued gambling-wise I've noticed but in this fight, it was warranted because where was Stephens going to win? He's not really improving, at least from what I've seen lately. His style was pretty much tailor-made for Cerrone.

Tom (Chicago)

Was Poirier exposed or is the Korean Zombie just that good? Jung/Aldo would be a crazy fight!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:22 PM)

Like I mentioned earlier, I think we forgot that Poirier hadn't really fought the most elite competition yet and he's very young. Not that age is everything, obviously. Aldo, Jones, MacDonald, McDonald ... all very young. But Poirier seemed like he was affected a bit by the moment. When Zombie seized momentum early, it was like he was on defensive rest of the night. But also, Zombie is just that good too. Full credit to him.

Jeff (Salt Lake City)

Fabio Maldonado = most brutal MMA boxer in MMA. His boxing/body shots are SO fun to watch. Fight could've gone either way but I had it 29-28 Maldonado.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:23 PM)

I also had it for Maldonado but wasn't outraged or anything by the call. Close fight. Totally agree on the body shots. Such a weapon.

Keith (Calgary)

Fedor says he might call it quits after Rizzo... is this good/bad? Do you believe it. Much as I love and respect him, I'd be fine with him calling it a day.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:24 PM)

I've been saying for years it doesn't look like Fedor's heart is in fighting anymore. I know he kind of has that laid back demeanor naturally, but in the few conversations I've had with him and watching him after fights ... I mean the guy has had an absolutely legendary career. These aren't the glory days anymore. I'm sure that effects him mentally when preparing and getting up for a fight. I'd be happy for him if he chose to retire after Rizzo.

Joe Roe (Indiana)

How do see the Barnett Cormier fight playing out? Would I be crazy if I thought Cormier will finish him in rd 1?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:27 PM)

That's not how I see it going. Here's the thing about this fight game ... I see a matchup between a 5'10", 240 pound guy with about 10 pro fights taking on a 6'3", 260 pound guy with about 40 pro fights, I'm taking the second guy. Experience and size are really going to work against Cormier in this fight. But the guy keeps knocking them out of the park every chance he gets ... I wouldn't be shocked by a Cormier win, but I'm leaning strongly to Barnett via making it ugly, clinching, working on the inside, gaining top position.

ryan (wi)

As a fight fan you end up watching a lot of fights that are lackluster and then you get a fight like Zombie/Poitier and it reminds you that it is all worth it. Great, great fight.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:28 PM)

It's like any sport. Sometimes there are off nights and a game can be crap. Other times you get a back and forth going and it's a barnburner. Was last night leading candidate so far for Fight of the Year? Can you guys think of one that beats it?

Joey (Indiana)

If Daniel Cormier finishes Barnett in the 1st rd, where would u rank him amongst the top 10 HWs?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:29 PM)

Tough to say until we see how it happens. I've got Cormier ranked No. 8 and Josh ranked No. 5 right now. It would probably move him up at least two spots.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:30 PM)

He disclosed before the fight he missed it because he's having surgery today to relieve symptoms of Meniere's disease. First show he missed since Zuffa purchased the company, I believe.

David Y. (Chicago, IL)

Brett, what are your thoughts on the current Nick Diaz conundrum?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:32 PM)

I think he has a good lawyer who is exploring every route to get him out of a suspension. The BJJ tournament is what it is. Sounds like it wasn't the best run program and that's how Diaz's personality is. If he gets fed up, he's out. He could have made a statement prior to the fight to let people know he wasn't coming, that was probably his only mistake, but that's just not how the dude rolls. We'll see what happens more importantly with his hearing on May 21. My guess is he receives the full suspension, but we'll see.

Maen (Orlando)

With all this concussion talk in the NFL has MMA started to do any research in the subject and how it could affect fighters in the future?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:34 PM)

The Nevada Commission is working with the Cleveland Clinic on a brain study program and they encourage most fighters they license to fight in Las Vegas to volunteer for it. Obviously, the issue hasn't reached the level it has in the NFL.

Neil (Charlotte)

I don't think there is a middleweight that will challenge A. Silva for the title. Do you ever see a day where Dana White sets up a fight between him and Jon Jones?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:36 PM)

The talk of a show in 2013 at Cowboys Stadium definitely gives hope to that. There aren't too many fights you could do in that stadium, pretty much only options would be Silva/GSP or Silva/Jones. Have to see what happens with Silva/Sonnen first. I'm like the rest of you. In a perfect world, I'd like to see Silva fight Jones and then maybe he retires. I'd rather see him fight Jones than GSP.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:36 PM)

The talk of a show in 2013 at Cowboys Stadium definitely gives hope to that. There aren't too many fights you could do in that stadium, pretty much only options would be Silva/GSP or Silva/Jones. Have to see what happens with Silva/Sonnen first. I'm like the rest of you. In a perfect world, I'd like to see Silva fight Jones and then maybe he retires. I'd rather see him fight Jones than GSP.

Gage (Mt. Pleasant)

Sonnen seemed to be tired in the Bisping fight- what is he doing to prepare for the Silva fight so his endurance is as strong as their first fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:38 PM)

I haven't talked with him specifically about his conditioning for the fight. I didn't really pick up that he looked tired in the Bisping fight. I just think it was a combination of us expecting him to walk through Bisping, Bisping was a little better than we thought and Sonnen had a bit of an off night. The only concern I'd have for Sonnen's preparation is that he's doing PR for the UFC and he's scheduled a book tour for this summer which I think is prior to the fight. I don't think it will affect him too much, but I'd rather have him in the gym than at a Barnes and Noble.

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

If Barboza wins his next fight, I wouldn't mind seeing him against Cowboy. It would be a Mauy Thai clinic. Fun fight.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:39 PM)

Not a bad idea. I still think people are just a little too high on Edson Barboza. If he fought Cerrone, I think Cerrone would roll. But Barboza's winning enough fights I guess you have to throw him in there with a test like that soon.

Jerry (Texas)

Did you hear that Vinny Magahles was trying to sell his M1 belt on ebay?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:41 PM)

I did, and then he tweeted he got 100k for it. Curious what you guys think. If you had the choice, title belt you earned sitting on your mantel or 100k cash?

Frank (NJ)

Hi Brett, What do you think is next for Jim Miller?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:44 PM)

What's up Frank? He might take a step backwards after the Diaz loss. I'm trying to think of guys coming off a loss. Joe Lauzon would be probably the best option for him in terms of still getting him a name. If not, let's see, George Sotiropoulos has lost a few, but we'll see if he gets the TUF Australian coaching gig. Sam Stout comes to mind, but he's scheduled for a fight. It will be someone like that.

Cam Leslie (Idaho)

Do you think either of the two super super-fights, Jon Jones v. Anderson Silva or GSP v. Anderson Silva will ever happen? Bonus: Who wins?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:46 PM)

All depends on Anderson Silva. Obviously, GSP ain't never fighting Jones. So, Silva is the glue that holds these super fights together. I would say right now, today, yes one of them will happen, but the window is short. If someone gets hurt or loses or whatever, it won't happen. Bonus: Silva beats GSP, Jones probably beats Silva but that's a 50/50 fight to me.

Ed (Work)

Are we going to get betting advice for the SF card? I'll probably stay away aside from the random gamble on the huge dogs.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:47 PM)

Yeah, Red Ink should come out today or tomorrow. Still read it please, but I took Barnett and, from a gambling perspective, had to take Josh Thomson. That's another line that I scratched my head on. Thomson gets no respect, but he's beat Gilbert already once, he's lost like two fights in five years I want to say and he's got a good style to give Gilbert problems in this one.

Ron - Tucson [via mobile]

Could Brian stann be competitive at 205?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:48 PM)

That's where he was a for a long time. Much better at 185. His power stands out more at 185, he moves better with that weight off and he doesn't have to deal with the heavy wrestlers like a Rashad or Phil Davis.

Andrew (Minneapolis)

UFC has been declining in ratings on Fox. Are you concerned that the rations will go lower for the next event on Fox?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:48 PM)

No, I think they'll bounce back. Not completely back to what they were, but there was a lot going on that night and I don't think it was promoted as well as the first two.

John (Austin, TX)

Hi Brett, What do you feel the UFC needs to do to make that next leap in popularity/viability in the sports landscape?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:50 PM)

I think they're doing it with the Fox deal. I know the ratings are declining but it's been three cards. You're introducing something brand new to a lot of people, it might take a second. I also think they have to switch up TUF. The live format didn't do it for me. And at the end of all these weeks, I don't feel like we know the fighters at all. They need to make it more fun. Make it goofy if you have to. Right now, it doesn't appeal to people who aren't already fans of the sport. It's a potentially great tool that isn't being used right in my opinion.

Rome (Baltimore)

if hector beats stann does he get silva next or another fight or two

Brett Okamoto
  (1:51 PM)

Depends how it happens and depends on what they want Silva to do. If he blows Stann out and highlight reels him, then I think he'll be in a title shot, against Silva or another contender for a vacant belt. If it's a close fight that ends in decision or something, he'll have to fight another one I'd think.

Aaron (fl)

What do you make of Chael saying the media is in the wrong for how it reports steroid use?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:54 PM)

First, you never really can believe everything Chael says. He goes into "interview" mode and he'll say whatever he wants. Second, though, media (at least credible sites) can't report rumors. Let's say a fighter tells us another fighter is on something, we can't report it unless we dig deeper and get it confirmed 100 percent. So, reporting things like steroid use is extremely important, but sometimes difficult to do unless a guy gets caught by a commission.

Ken (ca.)

How does Velasquez look to you right now? He's talking very confident for the ex-champ who got KO'd so fast.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:54 PM)

That's good. He should be confident. He got caught, happens to everybody. He's still top three heavyweight in the world right now.

ryan (wi)

The UFO needs to get the title fights rolling. Currently their are a couple divisions with injury problems but for the most part the champion fights twice a year. Example: everyone knew Edgar was getting another shot so why schedule it six months out and make all fans and not to mention other contenders wait. Now Nate Diaz won't fight until spring 2013 because he wants to wait for his shot. Same with Hendricks, now we all lose out on seeing a lot of exciting fights.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:58 PM)

I can agree with that but I think a big part of it is we've seen a lot of injuries lately. GSP, Silva, JDS was hurt, now Cruz, Aldo was hurt. Wow, when you really look back it's like every champ has gone through significant injuries in the past two years. I will definitely agree with you on the Diaz thing though. Why put him on the shelf for that long? In certain cases, waiting for title shots makes sense but for Diaz? Why? There are some who don't even think he deserves it already. Now he's waiting for it? Have him fight.

Tom (DC)

Hey Brett, Rory Mcdonald will beat Ben Henderson whenever they fight. True or false?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:58 PM)

Hmmm, I don't think MacDonald will ever fight Henderson, unless you're thinking Henderson eventually moves up to welterweight someday. If they were to fight give me MacDonald, because it won't happen for years, which means MacDonald will be even better than he is now and he's huge. He could fight at middleweight.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:59 PM)

BTW, most of you are saying you'd take the cash over the M-1 belt. What is America coming to?

Rick (Kansas)

Why does the UFC keep shoving Amir Saddolah down the fans throats? Has he ever had an exciting fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:00 PM)

Rick, I honestly don't know. He's what now, 6-3? And he's constantly on main cards and then he's hosting UFC shows ... it's a disaster. No offense to Amir, funny guy, wants to win. But his style is to push guys against the fence and throw short punches and knees for 15 minutes. I don't get it.

Ken (ca.)

Faber/ McDonald -- who you got.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:00 PM)

Faber.

Jeff (Salt Lake City)

What would you do to make TUF more "fun"? I think they need to let the guys loose in Vegas. Isn't TUF listed as a reality show afterall? The MMA hardcores will watch it because it's MMA and there will always be a fight at the end of the week. You might get new people to watch a Jersey Shore type drama with fighters.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:03 PM)

EXACTLY. The MMA purists will be like, "Oh, Brett you're crazy. We want to see training sessions and locker room shots." Okay, but Average Joe doesn't want to see that and neither does his girl. My girlfriend will watch that show with me but she's only interested in the "reality" parts. Why not show more of those? Like Jeff said, let them out in Vegas. Let them drink. You're not really representing the sport poorly. Chances are the guys who refrain from partying will be the only guys who move on to the UFC anyway. Have non-MMA related athletic challenges like they did in the first seasons. It's goofy I know, but more people will watch.

Buckley (SF)

I've heard that several MMA fighters use frozen Otter Pops as a form of refrehment and hydration while training. Is that true?? I can see refreshment, but hydration???

Brett Okamoto
  (2:03 PM)

Haha I can honestly say I've never heard that before. Nor have I ever witnessed a fighter finish a hard sparring session and go straight for an Otter Pop.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:05 PM)

Alright guys, sorry to cut off on the hour but I've got to run to an interview here in Vegas. Thanks as always for the questions and hit me up anytime @bokamotoESPN on Twitter. Stay tuned to ESPN this weekend for Strikeforce updates. I'll be on the ground in San Jose to see this Grand Prix finally wrap up.