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December 21, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Chuck Mindenhall

Chuck Mindenhall
  (3:59 PM)

What's going on guys? Glad to be back in the saddle this week for the chat. Looks like Strikeforce is officially kaput, and where's starting to see the crossover fighters. Kos/Lawler....Herman/Jacare. What's not to love? Got UFC 155 around the corner, too. Let's get this thing rolling....

sam (richmond, va)

what do you think of John "Prince" Albert? He's lost 3 in a row in the UFC but seems to have exciting fights and he's obviously talented.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:01 PM)

Yeah, he scraps, and the UFC likes that. I think he'll hang around for another fight. Been a bad stretch losing four of five after beginning his career 6-0.

Wolf (Miami)

RIP Strikeforce. Was fun while it lasted (except in 2012 when it outlasted the fun).

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:02 PM)

Yeah, well said Wolf. I'd be more sentimental about losing Strikeforce if it weren't being kept alive on a respirator for the last year. Glad to see the fighters will be going some place they can stay active.

Jenn (Columbus)

Upset special right here, Chuck: Costa Philippou will knockout Tim Boetsch. Mark it down!

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:03 PM)

This wouldn't surprise me. Unfortunately for Tim Boetsch, I don't think he'll ever seem like a "big favorite" to win his fights. He's more the underdog that continues to come through. I think Costa is dangerous, too. Should be a good scrap.

Paul (Bakersfield) [via mobile]

Why do so many people complain about women's MMA? Pretty much every WMMA match I've seen is more exciting than watching John Fitch or GSP. And I hate hearing the argument about "lack of technique." There's more technique in 1 minute of Ronda Rousey than 15 minutes of Leonard Garcia or Wanderlei Silva.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:04 PM)

It's true, Paul. The women are technical, and they put on some crazy fights. I still think that Sarah Kaufman/Alexis Davis fight was amazing (in fact, I'm nominating it FOTY). If there's a complain it's that Rousey is so far out in front of the curve that nobody (other than Cyborg) looks like competition.

James (London )

Glad Nick Diaz is fighting GSP - Johnny Hendricks will get his chance. Stylistically is there any welterweight who realistically could beat GSP as he's probably the best at developing a game plan to attack his opponents weaknesses (i.e. Hardy - the fight went to ground for almost 5 rounds).

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:07 PM)

He is excellent at game-planning, which is also a tribute to his coaches too. As for who might present a challenge for him, Diaz definitely brings some danger elements that could play a factor. As does Johny Hendricks, who is excellent at timing out that left and has the wrestling. People have discounted Hendricks, remembering the Rick Story fight when Story was able to take him down, but I think he's better now.

Brian (Fort Collins)

Hector Lombard should face ______________ next.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:07 PM)

Possibly Luke Rockhold? That would be interesting. I know he wants Bisping, but Bisping's got a date already. If that's the fight it ends up being, I'm down.

Rand (D.C.)

Any word on the whereabouts of Brian Bowles. Top 10 guy, disappears and hasn't fought in a year and nothing scheduled.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:08 PM)

I emailed Brian about a month ago asking, and he never responded. Not sure what's up with him. I will have to check back in.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

What shall become of poor Scott Coker?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:09 PM)

I don't know. The UFC is going to discuss it and double back around, should have some answers in a couple of weeks.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:09 PM)

(But seriously...I was imitating Coker. I'm not sure what role he'll play post-Strikeforce, if any).

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:09 PM)

They've been padding up that card under it, so it might surprise some people. My guess is somewhere in the 400,000 range.

Grim reaper (Death Valley)

Think I'm about to touch bj penn and rich franklins fighting careers yet?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:11 PM)

I think your icy fingers are tapping the shoulders of both. However, these cats strike me as the kind who might just ignore you. Penn, if he does fight again, should be at lightweight. He's dreadful at 170. Franklin? Time to hang them up.

John (Indianapolis)

Hi Chuck, big fan! Was wondering what you think of UFC 157? Say that GSP defends, and MacDonald beats Condit, and Hendricks beats Ellenberger. Who does the UFC give GSP, Hendricks or MacDonald?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:13 PM)

That's going to be a great card. Once again Montreal not only gets GSP, but they get the best welters in general. Should the scenario play out as your hypothetical, I think it would be easy: Hendricks against GSP. MacDonald, for as good as he is, doesn't necessarily want to fight GSP (his training partner). So they could make Hendricks/GSP, have MacDonald fight somebody else, and buy time.

Rob (Philly)

What are your thoughts on the Rousey backlash? I don't understand it. I was entertained by her SF fights, and no one was in a huff when UFC handed Dominick Cruz and Jose Also their belts.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:15 PM)

People just like to complain. Aldo and Cruz came from the WEC, which Zuffa owned, and the belts were transferred over. Same thing with Rousey and her Strikeforce belt. Since there wasn't a women's division in the UFC, it makes sense to me that she comes in as the title-holder.

Joe (Boston)

Might have to put money on Michael McDonald to beat Barao on Fuel TV. Underdogs on Fuel TV main events won a strange amount in 2012 (TKZ, Weidman, Struve, Le all underdogs that won)

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:16 PM)

Interesting stat, Joe. And McDonald is a pretty focused, very talented young fighter. If he lands that big punch of his, Barao goes down. I was advocating for this fight long before it was made, and (though it sucks that Cruz had a setback) I think it's a great title tilt (even with asterisks of not being for a real title).

tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]

My bold New Years prediction? Damian Maia will be the new 170 pd champ by years end! Yours?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:18 PM)

If Maia keeps looking like the Maia we've seen, I might join you on that limb. Fitch is a great barometer. If Maia goes through Fitch, I expect his title buzz to get strong.

Ron (Chicago)

Should Joe Lauzon get by Jim Miller, is he beginning to orbit into title contention in your mind? I feel like he's the most underrated fighter in the UFC.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:19 PM)

He's definitely underrated, but he's not broke. That guy wins more end of the night bonuses than anybody else (other than Anderson Silva). This should be a great fight between him and Miller. Miller's coming off of a loss to Nate Diaz, and he's never lost twice in a row. Lauzon pounces on mistakes quicker than anybody in the game. I like Miller, but man...coin flip.

Rob (Philly)

ESPN's P4P list has JDS at 8, which I think is ridiculous as is, but I think people are voting him low because they expect him to lose to Cain. A win against Cain = Top 5 P4P?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:22 PM)

It's tough when it comes to JDS, but a second win over Cain would be an eyeopener. Top five? Again, it's debatable (rankings always are), but I could make the case just on the fact that heavyweight champions never defend more than a couple of times in a row. Too much power, too many variables. For JDS to hold onto his title with a win over Cain, he'll move up, but he'll still be behind the big three (GSP, Silva, Jones) and guys like Cruz and Aldo are hard to hurdle.

bob (nyc)

top o' the afternoon, chuck....will you be at ufc 155 next weekend? i am flying in for my first live ufc! looking forward to the main event.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:24 PM)

You picked a good one to attend, Bob. Yes, I will be out there for the card. I am looking forward to JDS/Velasquez, too. I hope that Cain comes out in the shape/form that everybody expects, because if JDS does the same thing to him again there'll be no doubt what we're dealing with at the top of the division.

Sam (Orlando)

How stoked are you that the 49ers took care of the Patriots to give Denver the two seed?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:25 PM)

I had a feeling the 49ers could go into Foxborough and get the job done. Even then, they nearly blew a 31-3 lead. That's how good the Pats offense is. And that's why the Broncos not having to travel to Foxborough is a big deal. Rather have crowd noise to disrupt that fast-break juggernaut offense.

John (Denver)

Your top three Colorado micro/craft beers to enjoy with UFC 155? Thanks any Happy Festivus to you.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:27 PM)

So many good ones out here (I'm in Denver for the holidays). Will go with 90 Shilling (Odells), anything from Left Hand, and Avalanche.

Ben (Austin)

Chuck, good to have you back! Who are you taking in the rematch, JDS or Velazquez?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:27 PM)

Thanks, Ben. I am going dos Santos. I think he'll be able to keep the fight standing, and if it's standing he works Velasquez all day. I think it goes longer this time. Second round TKO.

Sandy (Gainesville)

Any reason Brian Bowles hasn't fought in over a year?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:28 PM)

Somebody asked this earlier, too, but no idea. Will check in with him.

Travis (Burbank)

Are you (or your ESPN colleagues) going to publish any kind of 2012 "best ofs"?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:29 PM)

Yes, we are doing our year-end lists, which I think will run post-UFC 155 (just so we have all the fights in). It's actually pretty difficult to narrow everything down, but I gave it the old frosh try. I still like Barboza's KO of Etim at UFC 142.

Coleman (Baltimore)

do you agree that the UFC dropped the ball not making pettis vs cerrone a 5 round fight? should have main evented an FX card

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:31 PM)

There has been a lot of backlast about the flyweights headlining that card. There are a lot of people who just don't like watching the little dudes. I agree, though. Cerrone/Pettis as a five-round headliner holds a lot more appear to me. And for a broadcast. Cerrone is never boring. And Pettis? The Bendo posterization was backed up by what he did to Lauzon. Great fight.

Rob (Philly)

How much of an impact will Bellator's move from MTV to Spike have on the organization? They have some exciting fighters even with Eddie Alvarez supposedly leaving.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:32 PM)

I think it'll make a big impact. They are holding their events on Thursdays, which is good. Spike is synonymous with MMA. I like how they're handling themselves, and think it'll be a much better match having Bellator on Spike.

James (CT)

The backlash against Rousey is, well, how do I say this nicely. She's kind of a jerk.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:33 PM)

Jerks are often treated with red carpet treatment in the fight game. Look at Sonnen, and the one they rolled out to him to fight Jones.

Peter (Dallas)

If the UFC makes Ben Henderson against Gil Melendez, do you think "El Nino" is built for that fight? I like him, but he's been fighting far less competition than Bendo.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:34 PM)

You know, I agree that Melendez hasn't seen the kind of competition that Henderson has, but a healthy, hungry Melendez could pose some problems for Bendo. I'd love to see that fight take place. Here's guessing that it happens, if not right away, at some point in 2013.

Coleman (Baltimore)

thoughts on koscheck vs lawlor? seems like a horrible fight for Robbie

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:37 PM)

My thing is, he has heavy hands (which we love), and he's a name. Koscheck wants name brand fighters. I am not sure that Lawler is as big as what Kos was thinking, but it's also (as you said) a good match-up for him. But as a far, with Lawler having lost recently to guys like Larkin, Kennedy and Shields, I don't really get it. The crossover appeal with the heavy hands, I guess, makes it seem big enough in the UFC's eyes.

Rob (Philly)

I see Gegard Mousasi has drawn a fight on the last SF card. I'm assuming the UFC will give him a shot, but can he own his past hype or is he just what he is?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:39 PM)

Good question, Rob. I think Gegard was happily rolling along beating up the Sokoudjou's of the world, and never really cared about the UFC. He's had motivational issues in the past. I think that it's 50/50. Does he show up in the UFC with something to prove, or does he coast in? If it's the latter, then he'll be cut down to size pretty quick. (I think he'll do well, though).

Joe Silva (Las Vegas)

Bendo vs winner of Cerrone v Pettis then Alvarez(if he signs with UFC)vs Melendez for "next" in line...Silva out!

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:40 PM)

That clears it up, Joe. Thanks for that. No complaints here, either. Make Alvarez/Melendez get their Octagon jitters out of the way. Make them "earn" it.

Coleman (Baltimore)

herman vs Jacare is awesome. im very excited about some of these crossover fights

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:40 PM)

Have to admit, that is a fun fight. I like it a lot.

Fedor (Mother Russia)

You Thought I Forgot? Merry Christmas To My #1 Fan -- Chuck Mindenhall

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:41 PM)

There he is.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

Which way are you leaning on JDS/Cain? Similar outcome but a better (longer) scrap?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:41 PM)

Yup, going with JDS. Same thing as the first, but longer. He'll end it at the 2:36 mark of the second round with a right overhand.

Rich (Cincinnati)

Bad fight for Ed Herman. If he got tapped by Maia, he's in for a rude awakening against Souza!

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:43 PM)

This did cross my mind. I will say that Herman, post-ACL surgeries (and therefore post-introspection) seems like a different fighter to me. Not as easily engaged, not as short tempered and gung-ho. He has patience. I think he'll pick his shots better against Jacare than he did with Maia. He regrets that Maia fight.

Tyler (Mission Viejo)

Hate to see Jonathan Brookins thinking about leaving the game. You think that's it for him? Seems like he has a lot of potential that he's yet to realize.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:45 PM)

Back before TUF 12, I flew to Vegas and interviewed all that season's contestants before they aired. He was the only guy that really stood out. But he stood out because the fight game was only a small part of his interests. He kept talking about his love of the library, and that sort of thing. I thought, "this is a unique guy." I'm not surprised to hear he wants to take some time away. He's a pensive person. But I think we'll see him fighting again, ultimately.

Jason (Corona)

No jokes about him being round, but Big Country just keeps bouncing back. Is he a top ten heavyweight at this point?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:46 PM)

Nelson landed back in our ESPN top ten heavyweights this last time through. Good looking stuff against Mitrione, and now he's got some wind in his sail. Thing is, how does he handle himself in the step up in competition that will follow? Could he have done that to Carwin? He needs to knockout (or even decision) a big name for me to vote him in. I had him at No. 11.

Stephen (Brooklyn)

Whoa, Ed Herman again Jacare? That final Strikeforce card just got a little more exciting for me. Who do you got in that fight?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:48 PM)

People are chirping about this one. Good. That Strikeforce card has such a swansong vibe, this latest pairing actually sets the table for the "new direction." All the possibilities are open in matchmaking. I like this fight. I lean towards Jacare. He's added some wrinkles in his stand-up....I think he'll prove too much for Herman.

James (CT)

Agreed on Big Country Chuck. Even having him at 11 is more of a statement about the the depth of HW than anything else.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:49 PM)

It's true. Heavyweight isn't the deepest division, but it's good that finally they are are consolidated.

Aaron (Calgary, AB)

Are there still rumblings about a TUF Canada? GSP and Rory Mac as coaches? Just dreaming...

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:51 PM)

I haven't heard Dana White talk about that in awhile, but we're going to need MacDonald to turn the cold shoulder on Tristar for that to happen. Right now he's comfortable there, and loves himself some GSP. But he also wants to be the greatest ever, and he's bent on doing it. To be the greatest, he needs to go through the greatest. One of the greatest is in his division. That's GSP.

Bob (the Counter)

I've made some good money betting against Brookins the past couple of fights. I hope he sticks around.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:52 PM)

Bob, there's always one fighter like that. The one guy you can count on to have decent odds and to lose.

Rob (Philly)

Which fighter will have the best 2013? I'm saying Jose Aldo.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:52 PM)

Tough one. I am going to say Rory MacDonald. I think he's right at the edge of showing us what he can do.

David (Jersey)

Does Rampage have a shot against Glover? and if he wins does UFC re-sign him?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:55 PM)

Sure, I think he has a chance. We know that Teixeira loves to stand in there and bang, and so does Rampage. Anything can happen in those exchanges. Maldonado nearly downed Teixeira in that heated moment in Brazil. Ultimately, I think Teixeira scores the TKO. As for Rampage returning to UFC with a win, yes. I think he does. Even with all the bad blood and back and forth.

James (CT)

Love Rory as a fighter but I could do without his shtick in the interviews in the ring and at the press conference.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:55 PM)

I spent a day with him for a piece in FIGHT Mag. It's not a shtick. Or at least, not entirely. He's a different kind of person. Uber-focused, unnerving at times. Likes rap music, though.

Bob (IN)

Love Fridays. Breen does a couple of hours on Sherdog and then Chuck takes it to Happy Hour.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:56 PM)

That's how it should be. Like somebody once said about the Rolling Stones and the Doors. The Stones are for blowing your mind. The Doors are for afterwards. (Plus, me and Happy Hour are conducive).

Rob (Philly)

Speaking of R. McDonald, how you think he fairs against Condit?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:57 PM)

I think he gets even with Condit. But where does that leave things? 1-1. It sets up Condit's turn to beg for a rematch.

Fedor (Mother Russia)

Favorite Christmas movie? I'll say Die Hard. Hans...Bubby! I'm ya white knight.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:58 PM)

Still got to go with the classic, "A Christmas Story." Die Hard is a very close second.

Sandy (Gainesville)

I can only scratch my head at the Mendes/Gamburyan bout. There are so many better matchups! Elkins, KZ, Poirier, Brandao, Brimage, even Hacran Dias like he was supposed to. What's the deal?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:59 PM)

People have been real hit or miss on that, Sandy. Some people really like the fight. I think the UFC doesn't want Mendes knocking off contenders, and they don't want him as a No. 1 contender so close to his last chance with Aldo. He was Aldo's last fight. So they are stacking him against guys that are...um...expendable.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:59 PM)

(Glad to see you mention Elkins as one of the elite, though...well done).

Matt (NJ)

I personally started disliking Rory when he didnt man up to taunting BJ. Come on, we aren't idiots.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (5:00 PM)

He didn't win over many fans with his actions on that one. Could there be a more serious face in fighting?

Kris (Los Angeles)

UFC 158 is going to be sick. Are they purposely stacking that card to (potentially) compensate for the women's headlining spot? Just so they have appeal for those who don't like women's MMA?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (5:03 PM)

Maybe. The UFC has a star in Rousey, and they are treating her accordingly. Problem isn't Rousey, it's the competition. For as willing as Carmouche is, she doesn't look like competition for Rousey. But Rousey could be like the Royce Gracie and Mike Tyson of women's MMA. She's the first to inspire girls to get into the sport (like Gracie), and she just destroys everybody (like Tyson). The card under her is looking good though, eh?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (5:04 PM)

OK, guys, I need to close this thing down. Thanks a lot for hopping on here today. Let's do it again from Vegas next Friday. If I didn't get to your question, hit me on Twitter, @ChuckMindenhall. Take care, brosephs.