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December 19, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Brett Okamoto

Brett Okamoto
  (1:03 PM)

Happy Holidays chatters. Nice little close to 2012 here ... Heavyweight title fight at UFC 155. The card lost a few stars but hey, I think we're pretty used to that by now. I'm interested to see Todd Duffee back in the UFC. I've always liked Todd's potential obviously. Saw him a week ago at AKA and he seemed calm, confident ... two things he really wasn't awhile back. Leben fights are always fun. Belcher in a key spot. Wineland/Pickett should be fireworks.

Tim (Hackney (UK). )

Hey Brett, Assuming Bisping beats Belfort, it seems he'll get Anderson next (should be Weidman but that's another topic) would / could Zuffa be possibly be looking at a Wembley Stadium (outdoor) fight May - August or at the very least O2 Arena (25k+)

Brett Okamoto
  (1:05 PM)

That is the fight if Bisping wins ... and even though I always thought there was a good shot it could happen in the UK, last time I talked to Bisping about it his answer was a hard no. Like almost to the point of ... maybe it's been brought up and he was told fat chance. He wasn't optimistic about it at all, just said, "nope, that'd be cool but it won't happen in UK." I would still think it's possible but haven't heard anything about UK in that time frame.

Cameron (Auckland (NZ))

The payment to Mike Pyle was odd. He was on the fuel under card, won fairly easy after a couple of difficult moments yet he get's the biggest (announced) payment of TUF final. I could have understood if it went to Nelson, Guillard (bigger draws etc) . Seriously is that right? (and how are these things worked out).

Brett Okamoto
  (1:07 PM)

The disclosed purses you're talking about are the show and win purses. So, Pyle just signed himself to a solid deal is all. Seemed like lots of guys on that show were former TUF contestants, who notoriously get relatively low purses coming off the show. It was a low-paying card, overall.

Chris bassett va [via mobile]

Hi brett. Not much talk about cain vs jds a year ago every pro on mma live picked cain now nobody on social media ? Why thanks

Brett Okamoto
  (1:09 PM)

Cain was hot at the time man, can't blame anybody for picking him in that fight. I remember taking JDS but being far from confident about it. Cain's boxing had showed improvement and he had gotten everybody down. It was like, JDS was finally going to fight someone who could match his speed. He had defended takedowns against the likes of Carwin, but Velasquez has good wrestling AND the good speed, so many thought that'd be the difference. I'm picking JDS again, and again I don't feel THAT confident about it. Cain could win.

Tyler (Oklahoma)

Ive never understood the desire for people to see Diaz v GSP. Even before my boy Benson dominated his brother, Ive always said wrestling beats a Diaz every time. Benson proved me right, and so will GSP. It wont be close. Put me on the record.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:10 PM)

You're on the record. And I agree with you but I admit, I still want to see it. Even if only because I'm a sucker and I want to see Nick flip him off in the cage. The one thing that gives Nick a shot is his guard is so good, he could threaten a sub and use it to get to his feet, but ... yeah, I think we're in for a Henderson/Nate Diaz-ish replay.

Nick (Melbourne )

Hi Brett, Good to see the real Hector Lombard turned up. I assume he's no chance of fighting Michael Bisping (at this stage) but who would you have next up for him? Bisping seems to be next in line for Anderson now assuming he beats Vitor (I actually like Vitor in that one). Thoughts?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:14 PM)

Hector is marketable, because of the way he looks and his standup style. He's obviously main card/Fox material. Too bad Brian Stann is moving up to fight Wanderlei because I'd still be into a Stann/Lombard fight. To answer your question, I could see him fighting Alan Belcher/Yushin Okami winner. I wouldn't mind seeing him fight Weidman actually, if Weidman is just sitting around. And we've got Strikeforce guys coming over ... Lombard/Rockhold or Lombard/Jacare would be fun.

James (London)

The staredown at the weigh in for Mitrione / Nelson must have been the most relaxed ever. The look on Dana's face was priceless....guys' I know your not a Diaz but you gotta give me something to work with here.......have you ever seen anything close to that?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:15 PM)

I don't really remember much about the staredown to be honest. Those two like each other though. I think it was one of those fights where they both wanted it because it made sense but neither was looking forward to hurting the other. That's probably why they were laid back about it.

Tyrone martinville va [via mobile]

Brett. Just seen a promo for t.U.F. . Cheal take' s the old benmain franklin line death, taxes, and cheal whopping jon jones its funny? Is there anybody other cheal that thinks he win? Thanks

Brett Okamoto
  (1:16 PM)

I was talking to a longtime trainer about it the other day and he said he's giving Chael a chance because Greg Jackson is one of the best trainers in the game and he didn't want Jon fighting Chael at UFC 151. That must mean Greg saw SOMETHING he didn't like about the matchup and wanted to prepare for it. I told the trainer he made a very good point, but I still don't give Chael a chance.

Cory (Parts Unknown USA)

Any news on Rumble Johnson coming back to the UFC

Brett Okamoto
  (1:17 PM)

I haven't heard anything lately but have to believe it happens soon. UFC needs contenders at 205. Rumble has looked good. His management was planning to open talks with UFC as soon as Rumble felt comfortable at the weight and got a couple wins under his belt.

Patrick (Fiji)

When are they going to give Chad Mendes a good opponent ? He needs a Zombie or Poirer next - anyone else he wont break sweat fighting.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:19 PM)

His next fight will be a big one. After the loss to Aldo you basically wanted Chad to get back in the gym and improve, in the meantime give him some fights you're pretty sure he'll win. Chad's in a good spot now, he's got the momentum building again after two first-round wins and it's been long enough since he fought for the title that it doesn't feel like it was yesterday, you know? They'll start giving him real, move up the ladder-type fights again now.

Cory (Parts Unknown USA)

Finally, after seeing Hector Lombard get robbed by a bad decision it is nice to see him show what he is capable of. I am driving the Hector Lombard fan bus...... all aboard- who is coming with me?

Cory (Parts Unknown USA)

Are you a Hector Lombard fan or are you one of those critics that is trying to outthink the room and call him all hype?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:21 PM)

So we've definitely got a Lombard fan in the chat today. Cory, I like Lombard. HIs grappling skills are underrated (Palhares never had a chance to grapple with him in that fight) and he's got KO power. That's a good combination. But I think he's too small to go on a serious, consistent run.

Carl lubrin (Sydney )

When will lyoto be back in the ring

Brett Okamoto
  (1:21 PM)

February at UFC 157. Fighting Dan Henderson.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

What is Nick Diaz's best career win?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:22 PM)

I feel like you're trying to make a point here ...

Joe Streitenberger (Grove city Ohio )

Do you really believe that Cain would fight with a torn acl and I would hope the UFC wouldn't force him to fight with it. Do you see Cain taking jds down and do you have winning

Brett Okamoto
  (1:23 PM)

Cain didn't have a torn ACL. He wasn't 100 percent, but it wasn't as severe as an ACL. And no, I was told the UFC didn't put a lot of pressure on him to stay in the fight. Cain didn't want to pull out. I do see Cain getting a takedown this time around, but I don't think he'll be able to keep Junior down.

Chad S. (Chicago, IL)

Brett, Happy Holidays. What are your thoughts on a potential B.J. Penn vs Gilbert Melendez fight at 155. I think B.J. has came to realize he can't fight at 170 anymore and the winner of this fight could fight the winner of Bendo/Cowboy-Pettis winner?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:24 PM)

If it gets BJ to go to 155 I am 10000% for it. I still think BJ can win fights. Unlike a lot of other people, I'd like to see him fight again and I think he's still dangerous, but it has to be at 155.

Tyler (OKC)

How good can Roy Nelson be? He says he is just now learning to strike and he already has best chin in MMA and some serious BJJ skills.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:25 PM)

Do you believe him when he says he's just now learning to strike? Because I don't. I think Roy is Roy at this point. Not to say he can't improve because of course he can, but at this stage you pretty much know what you're getting. I said on an MMA Live Extra this week I wouldn't say it's IMPOSSIBLE for him to string together wins just because he's so durable and has that right hand, but I'm not really expecting it.

suave (manila)

happy holidays brett! great weekend of fights. who do you think lombard gets next? and watcha think of big country vs cormier?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:26 PM)

If Belcher wins I think they'll do Lombard/Belcher. Or one of the Strikeforce matchups I mentioned. Country-Cormier? I could get into it, although (no disrespect to Roy here) I don't think Nelson deserves that fight right now if we're looking at the standings.

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

So how about Mendes vs KZ to see who fights Aldo/Edgar winner? Then you can pit Poirier vs Koch/Lamas winner. I like my 145 plan.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:27 PM)

It's a good plan. I like the Mendes/KZ fight. Questions need to be answered about both guys still and that would be the perfect matchup to kind of show which has improved more, who's more ready for a shot at Aldo.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:28 PM)

And by the way, I love the Dennis Siver/Cub Swanson fight. But you guys probably already knew that given my love for Swanson fights.

Dan (NJ)

What's the word good word Brett. I am actually really excited for Hendricks/Ellenberger, i think it is a really good matchup being they both have similar styles and a lot harder for Hendricks than people think. Ellenberger is one of my biggest sleepers at 170.Also one thing buggin me about Silva and Jones. I feel this has never been done by any opponent they faced. Both Jones and Silva stand on toothpics. They have the skinniest legs possible, why doesnt someone implement a leg kick approach much like henderson agnst nate or griffin agnst rampage.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:29 PM)

I like Hendricks/Ellenberger. I wasn't in favor of seeing Hendricks sit on the sidelines waiting for a title shot and this is a fight that makes sense and one I think he'll win. As far as the leg kick theory, Jones and Silva move really well. Not as easy to kick at them as you might think, plus you're gonna open yourself up for counter punches. Especially against Silva.

Brett (Dallas)

After last weekend, who were you more impressed with Lombard or Roy Nelson? Who do you think is more likely to make a title run in their respective division?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:30 PM)

Kind of a question I got to already but to recap ... I guess I was probably more impressed with Roy? But really, both of them performed about how you'd expect them to. They both were in fights they needed and should have won. Who is more likely to make a run? I don't like either of them to hold the belt but if I had to pick one, Roy.

Domnick stanleytown va [via mobile]

Brett , i was for gsp vs diaz, before bendo dominted nate? Why should we expect differnt? Both diaz brother's alot bark no bit ? What do u think? Thanks

Brett Okamoto
  (1:31 PM)

I wouldn't say Diaz's are all bark and no bite, they just have a hole in their game. They don't beat athletic wrestlers. Hopefully Nick saw what happened to his little brother and is working on preventing the same thing ...

Alex (Concord)

At what point does someone from FOX or even Lorenzo tell Dana to pipe down? He makes the sport and the company look petty when he goes after his own fighers or even Arum?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:33 PM)

I would venture to guess someone HAS told Dana to pipe down a few times over the past few years. But for the most part, grabbing headlines is a good thing when you're a promoter. Dana knows what he's doing when it comes to handling the media and getting quotes out there.

Mark (Billerica)

I know what Dana said but what is the plans for the women's divison besides Ronda? The actions speak louder and so far its Ronda Rousey in possible one off fights.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:35 PM)

Yeah, I've asked him about that and he never really has a solid response. His answer is, I'm in. I'm committed to this. But then in the next breath, he admits it's the Ronda Rousey show. He's not trying to hide the fact it's the Ronda show. Right now, it's going to be the women's division will be completely about Ronda and a casual attempt at building Ronda's next contender. When Ronda leaves or loses, whenever that is, that's when this thing is going to get interesting and we'll have to see if the UFC keeps it around.

Zach (Somerville, MA)

Any news on Chan Sung Jung? He had a ton of momentum and now seems to have fallen off the grid.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:36 PM)

That's what happens when you get injured. I haven't talked to him lately but the latest was he should be ready to return in early 2013. I like the Mendes fight for him suggested earlier.

Gerry (San Francisco, CA)

Which is more likely to happen: Jon Fitch finishing a fight by KO/submission or GSP/Anderson/JJ losing in a non-superfight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:36 PM)

Fitch.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:37 PM)

What, you weren't one of those who thought it was a new Jon Fitch we saw in his last fight? One who was looking for the finish? Yeah, me neither really.

Bob (the Counter)

Football picks?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:38 PM)

They were horrible last week, but I tend to bounce back in these situations. Seattle at a PICK and Cleveland +13.5.

Stoke (Oregon)

I'm getting SICK and TIRED of everybody in the entire world not giving Chael a chance against Jones. So, you know!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:39 PM)

Tell me how he wins the fight then.

Tommy (Denver)

Brett, I think it's cool UFC brought in Rousey, but they have pumped her up so much without really speaking of any other women talent. How bad would it look if she actually lost her first fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:40 PM)

Catastrophic. Huge blow to women's MMA. I could be 100% wrong on this, but judging by Dana's comments, if we were to set a prop of women's MMA still being in the UFC five years from now ... I'd put it right at 50/50.

Dan Hardy's Mohawk (Dan Hardy's Head [Las Vegas, NV])

Am I the only one who's thinking we're putting way too much stock into Cain's knee injury a year ago? It's not like he tore the ligaments in his chin ...

Brett Okamoto
  (1:41 PM)

If you have a bum knee which prevents you from throwing high kicks, which were a critical part of your game plan, and take away the explosiveness of your takedown ... then it's definitely something worth mentioning.

Cal (NY)

I'm picking Hendo by right hand bomb over Machida...how do you see it working out?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:42 PM)

I don't know ... I rewatched the Shogun/Henderson fight last night actually and the one thing that popped out? Those two looked so slow. Now, they hurt each other right off the bat in the first round, so it's kind of understandable, but I don't know. I still think you need a little bit of speed if you're going to catch Lyoto with his style. I think I'm leaning Lyoto right now.

Ultimate Warrior (Parts Unknown)

If everyone is aware of Hendrick's left, why do opponents keep backing up. I mean I know it's elementary but why don't they continually circle left?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:43 PM)

Like Houston Alexander against Kimbo Slice? You can't spend an entire fight circling around your opponent. Johny doesn't make it easy for them either, he cuts off the cage and he covers a lot of ground when he throws the left.

Jeff (Clearwater)

Saw an interview with GSP discussing why he is fighting Diaz, not fighting Hendricks, and the move up a weight class. Is he smarter than most mixed martial artists when it comes to training and everything else involved?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:45 PM)

That's always been GSP's reputation, yeah. He's never really picked opponents before though. It's hard to do that when you're a champion in the UFC. As far as the training aspect though, GSP is incredibly smart about it. He's always well prepared.

Gerry (San Francisco, CA)

Which hard luck MMA team in UFC title fights as of late will be more likely to win a UFC title: Alpha Male or Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:45 PM)

I'd say Alpha Male. Mendes and Benavidez both have good shots.

James (South San Francisco)

Any chance Hioki can subdue Guida's Tasmanian devil pace?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:47 PM)

I think he's going to have a tough time. Guida's striking has actually improved over the years and I don't think Hioki will be able to take him down and get in the positions he wants. Is there a line on that fight? I would think Guida is made the favorite.

JD (VA)

So it looks like 158 is stacked with 3 Welterweight fights on the main card. Do you think the UFC lined it up this way just as insurance in case one of the main eventers can't make it? That way they have a few welterweights to choose from to fill in. You'd think the UFC wouldn't want to be burned by another injury or Diaz no-show.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:47 PM)

The timing worked out well, plus you have two Canadians on the card ... but as Dana might put it, it doesn't suck that you have plenty of fall back options in case something happens.

Eric (Indiana)

What happens if Rampage stops Glover?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:48 PM)

Not much, really. The Glover hype train just veers off the rails and explodes. Other than that ... I don't really see it having a huge effect on Rampage's career if that's what you're asking.

Rick (Kansas)

Notice how UFC doesn't put any highlights from the first Cain v. JDS fight in the promo commercials? Are they hoping fans don't remember JDS won within a few minutes the first time?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:50 PM)

Meh, maybe. I think it's more about wanting to promote both of them as indestructible guys. You don't want to show one of them getting blasted by a right hand. You want to show them knocking out opponents and then it sets up the mindset of ... two forces colliding, you know? I'm not an ads expert but that's my explanation.

Trevor (Minneapolis )

UFC 158 is stacked with 170lbs on the card. Why doesn't UFC try to schedule stuff like this (multiple same weight fighters) more often to at least have a backup plan in place should a fighter get injured leading up to the fights? For example: If Diaz or GSP gets injured...Hendricks, MacDonald, etc just steps right in. No cancelled main events, no cancelled cards!! Tell me this doesn't make sense...it does!!!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:51 PM)

It does but it just doesn't really work out that way all the time. All three of those fights made sense and it was the right timing for all of them. It's not really something they can duplicate on every card.

Ultimate Warrior (Parts Unknown)

So it looks like I will watch the Rousey PPV, Machida v Hendo is too good of a fight to miss.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:52 PM)

As far as main cards go, top to bottom, I'm not going to lie ... 157 isn't the best. 156 though ... that's a card.

Nate (Woburn)

How amusing was it to watch Melvin's post-non fight interview where he said he would never fight Varner, only to be told he was going to be fighting him in 2 weeks. Just get in the ring and take care of him.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:52 PM)

That was pretty awesome.

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

What round does Stann knock Silva the hell out?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:52 PM)

Hate to say it, but probably first. Second at the latest.

Kevin (Mile High)

To Tommy (Denver) point, I think Dana purposely gave Ronda a fight she can easily win to make sure that doesn't happen. Tate and McCann both said they were never offered the fight. Ronda is -1000 right now

Jordan (NYC)

Back to Roy Nelson. Would you feel differently about his prospects if he could cut down to 205? Dude could be a monster there....

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

I actually run into a TON of people who say Roy would be a force at 205. I'm all for him cutting the weight and getting to light heavy, but I'm not sure why people think he'd be so good there. He'd be fighting quicker guys, which he can struggle with.

JP (Columbus, OH)

To sort of contradict what Rick just said - I've noticed that whenever UFC or ESPN shows the highlight of JDS knocking out Cain, it's always sped up to, I assume, make the punch look more devastating. In real time, it was kind of an ugly, looping punch and it hit Cain on the temple and he fell down slow. Just something I noticed, that's all.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

Hmmm, I hadn't really ever noticed that.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:57 PM)

Alright guys, sorry to cut it short but I have to jump on a UFC call. Thanks for the questions this week, enjoy the holidays. We'll have a long chat next week to get in gear for 155. Hit me on twitter anytime, @bokamotoESPN. See ya.