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February 15, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Chuck Mindenhall

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:00 PM)

Happy Friday, everyone. Jordan is 50 years old. Michael McDonald is 22 and could becoming the youngest UFC champion (but he don't care about none of that mess). What's on your minds?

jacob (reunion co)

Does Bigfoot fare any better the second time against Cain?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:01 PM)

I'd love to say yes. There's a part of me that's tempted. But the way that first fight went down, I have trouble believing it. Cain treats Bigfoot worse than those dudes in the Slim Jim commercials.

Slay (Los Angeles)

Taking my brother to Vegas for his 21st. Both of us are huge UFC fanatics and plan to attend 160. Any rumblings on what else might be added to that event? Should we expect a stacked card given the seemingly non-competitive main event?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:02 PM)

That card will be pretty stacked, I think. Already two heavyweight fights (JDS-Reem will be great). And what...you don't like the Sadollah/Wonderboy fight?

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

Hey Bro, How do you see the Vitor/Rockhold fight playing out? Winner get's AS/Weidman winner?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:03 PM)

Very well could be. I know one thing; having talked to Rockhold, he would love to mix it up with Silva. I know Silva has mentioned his name in he media, too. That might be the call...

Matt (New York)

Is there any news on Shane Carwin

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:04 PM)

I haven't heard anything. Will have to check in with Trevor Wittman and see. I know we had to drop him from the ESPN heavyweight rankings due to such a long absence.

Marc (Chicago, IL)

Not interested at all in seeing Bigfoot fight Cain... the first fight was a bloodbath. With JDS fighting Overeem, the only other options were Barnett (turned the UFC down) or Cormier (fighting Mir).... Heavy weight division needs an infusion of talent.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:06 PM)

I tend to agree with you, Marc. It's been very difficult for the UFC to fill in their heavyweight division, even with the inclusion of all those Strikeforce heavies. Barnett passing on the UFC hurts for that reason, but Cormier refusing to fight Velasquez is really the bigger bummer. There's not enough depth for finickiness.

Dennis (MI)

What do you think of the Mendes-Guida fight? I think chad will KO him and not leave it in the hands of the judges which benefitted clay last time.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:07 PM)

I was a little surprised by it, but I guess that fight makes some sense. Mendes isn't going to get another shot anytime soon, and Guida is 1-0 as a feather, still making his way. I haven't given it a ton of thought, but there's some real caution here that this thing might not be overly exciting.

Jeremiah (Kansas City)

What are the keys to Mcdonald becoming youngest champ?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:08 PM)

I think landing one of those big Mayday shots would be very helpful. He is young, plenty of tools, has cardio...but his hands need to fly. You wonder if he'll be tentative with the hand injury from before and the long layoff. Guess we'll find out real soon.

Tony (CA)

hey chuck the real main event for 157 Hendo vs Machida do you see the winner getting a title shot?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:09 PM)

I would hope so, but it sounds like gray matter if you listen to Dana White. White is talking about Gustafsson potentially being the guy (should he beat Mousasi). That would be unfair to Henderson, if Hendo does away with Machida. And let's not forget....Machida was named the No. 1 contender after beating Bader, too. Seems like he'd be right there with a win over Hendo.

J (All Day)

Can you have someone check on the auto update?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:09 PM)

Let me see here...

Matt (Nashville)

Where does the winner of Lombard vs. Okami stand in the MW pecking order?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:11 PM)

I don't think Okami is anywhere near a title shot right now (maybe ever again, so long as Silva is at the top). Lombard, however, had something going. A win over Okami would get him close. For one thing, he will have beaten Okami and Palhares (and the Boetsch loss will begin to look fluky). For another, Silva's camp would love that match-up.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

No preview/picks on ESPN.com this week? What's up with that Bro? Anyways, who ya got on the main card?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:12 PM)

We definitely picked. Maybe they're running tonight or tomorrow. My picks are: Barao, Poirier, Manuwa, Nelson.

Dennis (MI)

I'm just wondering Chuck, does Mickey Mouse sign your checks from ESPN?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:13 PM)

His assistant does.

Greg (Austin TX)

Hi Chuck - really looking forward to the main event tomorrow. what do you think are the keys to McDonald winning the fight, and how likely do you think that is?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:14 PM)

He's very good. Problem is I think he's running into a guy who might just be in the Aldo-sphere of stardom in Barao. Ultimately, I think Barao wins the fight. Uses those leg kicks to keep McDonald at bay, and comes up top when the opportunity presents itself.

Hater,s going to hate [via mobile]

Chuck, the last book u read? What was it about?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:15 PM)

Just reread Confederacy of Dunces. So fun. Darker this time through; the humor is tragic. But great stuff. Going to read this George Saunders book of short stories next.

Jose ' workin n.C ' [via mobile]

Cain is my favorite mma fighter. I don't want see bigfoot two, i like bigfoot give him another tough guy like todd duffee?! !' cain vs ????

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:15 PM)

Duffee might need to win a fight (or six) before he sniffs a title shot. But, given the landscape, maybe he could make his claim with a couple of big KOs.

jay (corona)

seems like maia should hold out for condit-macdonald winner, doesn't it? why does he want saffadine?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:17 PM)

I thought that would be the case...that Maia would wait on the winner to that fight. It makes sense to me. But then again, Saffiedine coming over as reigning Strikeforce champion is a big fight. Could be fun.

Nickel Steak (Boston)

The Saunders book is aces. Do you have any more info re: that Sloan panel you're doing at MIT?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:18 PM)

I know that it's on March 1. I will get the specifics and Tweet it out. Thanks for asking about that.

Craig (So Cal)

Hey Mr. Journalist - why arent you correcting those who call the Hendo vs Machida "the real main event" of 157? The UFC has called the Rouseyvs. Carmouche fight "the real main event". Just because some people dont want to see a women's fight as a PPV main event doesnt mean that the media of this world who are supposed to report the news, not editorialize it, should pull the same stunts. Failing to recognize the Rousey fight as the main event is a insult to the fighters.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:19 PM)

I just post the notes here. If somebody wants to consider Hendo/Machida the "real main event," it's not my place to tell them otherwise. I personally look forward to Rousey/Carmouche, and will be in Anaheim covering the event. We have a lot of things planned for it. No lack of love here.

Dennis (MI)

Who's the biggest action movie star of all time-schwarzenegger, willis, stallone, or other?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:19 PM)

Willis. Just watched the original Die Hard again last week. Still amazing.

Matt (New York)

Are you surprised by the UFC's expanded commitment to WMMA?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:20 PM)

Not really. Rousey is a draw. My thing is...what happens if she loses to Carmouche? I did a piece about that, which will run on Monday (I think).

Miggy (Philly)

Any clue what the sticking point in the Barnett contract is? Also, do you think Rockhold runs thru Vitor? I see it as a bad matchup for Luke.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:21 PM)

That's a tough match-up for Luke, but having talked to him, I know he welcomes the odds being stacked against him. I have a cover story in FIGHT Mag on him which hits stands in a couple of weeks. He talks at length about the challenge. As for Barnett, not sure of the hang-up there. Hopefully he ends up in the UFC at some point.

Dustin (Omaha)

Any chance of Jake Ellenberger beating Hendricks?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:22 PM)

Yeah, Ellenberger can bring it. Especially in that first round. He always comes out guns blazing, and Hendricks does too. If it gets into the second round, I start to favor Hendricks more.

Fedor (Mother Russia)

Meteors Chuck! Meteors! Time to drink...any word on when Cruz comes back? Would enjoy seeing him fight Barao, since he clearly beats a McDonald.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:23 PM)

Take cover, Fedor. And Cruz should be back in late 2013. Heard he's able to start jogging in a week or two. Slow progress, but progress the same.

Sandy (Gainesville)

What do you think about Dana saying Gustaffson will get a title shot with a win over Mousasi? Obviously Dana doesn't always stay true to his word, but isn't Dan Henderson more deserving with a win over Machida? Now if Machida wins, I understand giving Alex the shot. But if Hendo wins (especially dramatically), give the old man his last shot at glory, and match up Gus with Glover.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:24 PM)

I am with you on that Sandy. I think that if Henderson beats Machida (particularly if he beats him emphatically, like he did Bisping), it should be Hendo next for the title shot. If Machida wins, I am in favor of Gusty getting the shot (if he beats Mousasi). New blood. And Gusty would be more intriguing.

Todd (Fort Collins)

What kind of headline is "Liz Carmouche intends to put up a fight"? There are some things we should be able to take for granted, right?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:25 PM)

Not my headline. But yes, I should hope those are her intentions.

Udo (Minneapolis)

Don't go, Cyborg.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:26 PM)

Too late, Udo. She's gone. She's gone. Remember the good times.

Miggy (Philly)

Do you think Brock is at all rethinking his decision to "retire" from MMA?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:27 PM)

I'm sure he's rethought things a few times. Not sure he'd come back at this point. I thought a Fedor fight would be the only way, and it seems like that was close to happening at one point.

matt (NY)

Is there any chance Jon Jones will be moved up to heavy weight if he keeps dominating his opponents

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:27 PM)

Great chance. I think he will be headed that way if he beats Sonnen and defends one or two more times. Bottom line is, that's where the challenges are.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

SO you think Rockhold beats the young dinasour?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:28 PM)

Early gut says yes....but that's tough getting him in Brazil.

Nickel Steak (Boston)

Wrestling getting axed from the Olympics? Oof. That's really wrong.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:28 PM)

How soon they forget the spirit of the thing, Nickel Steak.

Miggy (Philly)

Have you checked out the UFC Primetime on Rousey/Carmouche? Good stuff.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:29 PM)

I have, and agree. Really enjoying those Primetime's.

Dennis (MI)

With all the Jordan talk these days on ESPN- which mixed martial artist could be "his airness" of MMA?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:29 PM)

Anderson Silva would be the closest right now; but potentially Jon Jones. He's got the Nike slogan, now.

Slay (Los Angeles, CA)

I'm a fan of the 125ers, but have concerns over how they're being marketed. John Moraga is a solid contender, but has zero name recognition & little exposure. What could the UFC be doing better w/ the division?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:32 PM)

It's still fresh out of the gate, but they need to market the contenders more. That's it. They began with a flyweight tournament and those guys got the ink; meanwhile Moraga (solid) hasn't been fighting in the spotlight. I think it's cool that he gets the shot, given that he's legitimately the next guy, but they need to make sure people in penultimate spots are getting recognized.

Rich (Cincinnati)

Chuck, if Barao gets the win this weekend (and I think he will!), will Cruz be his next challenge?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:33 PM)

I think that if Barao wins, he'll defend the belt one more time before Cruz comes back. It's only FEB right now. He could fight again in May or June, and that would still be before Cruz is ready. Why wait?

Adam (Albuquerque)

I like the Vitor-Rockhold matchup, but doesn't it seem like Jacare would've been a better fit vs. Vitor in Brazil? Is there maybe a chance Jacare gets on this card too? Maybe against Costa Phillipou?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:34 PM)

You and Joe Silva think alike. Jacare/Philippou is going down on that same card. I like it. Jacare is the darkhorse coming over from Strikeforce, and Philippou is on a mean streak right now. Two good heads of momentum going at it.

Carlos Condit (Jackson's MMA)

Say I beat Rory again. What or who is up next for me? I'm not a gatekeeper yet.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:34 PM)

Jake Shields is calling you out, son.

Sandy (Gainesville)

With Pettis fighting Aldo, if you had to guess, after Gilbert Melendez, the next person to fight Benson Henderson would be?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:35 PM)

Gray Maynard (or Eddie Alvarez). I would like to see Maynard fight Alvarez first, but that's complicated with the court case going on. I think Maynard is the guy in the wings. And he presents a very real challenge to either Melendez or Bendo.

carl (cleveland)

yo chuckie! sing to me about cubb swanson...if he comes up big tomorrow night, is he next in line for title shot?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:37 PM)

I don't think he's next in line, Carl, but he'd be in the top five. Beating Poirier is no joke. With Lamas and Korean Zombie out there, he's still a little down the totem pole, but maybe give him Nik Lentz?

Alan (Oakland)

Michael McDonald may become the youngest champion, but he's light years ahead of many fighters in maturity. Agree??

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:37 PM)

I've said that for a long time. Very centered young dude, has his head on straight. I remember that from right before (and after) he fought Miguel Torres. Very philosophical and thought out.

Peter (Dallas)

Loving the Luke Rockhold v Vitor Belfort fight, but seems like a tricky spot for Rockhold. Shouldn't he had gotten a little easier passage into the UFC?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:38 PM)

If Rockhold had it his way, he'd have fought Anderson Silva right out of the gate. So I guess, yes and no. It's a tough fight, but what a great one to make a declaration in.

Jacob (Essex)

If Poirier gets past Swanson, where do you place him at 145?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:39 PM)

Similar to if Swanson wins; in the top five. There is a jam at the top right now, with Aldo/Pettis, and then the Korean Zombie and Lamas. He'd be in that company, but not next.

Adam (Albuquerque)

What do you think happens with Nate Marquardt?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:41 PM)

He'll come in and get a shot in the UFC, see how he does at 170 there. He's becoming such an inconsistent fighter, though. If he'd have beaten Saffiedine, imagine how we'd be looking at him at 170? Particularly after beating Woodley, who just dusted Hieron. Anyway, he'll get a good fight and begin his way back up the ladder.

Captain Howdy (Georgetown)

The real challenges for Jones are at HW?? After Cain and Cormier (and maybe JDS), who's left? He'd have that division cleaned out in a year if he can get past Cain. At LHW, there's Machida 2, Hendo, Gustafsson, Davis (with a little more seasoning), Teixeira...

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:43 PM)

If he beats Hendo and Gusty this year, the division is pretty played out. Yes, there would be Davis (potentially) and Teixeira (probably), but it's thin after that. At heavyweight, there are those names you mentioned, and by the time he works through those, there'll be more. More importantly, though, that's where Jones wants to end up. At heavyweight.

matt (los angeles)

hey bro! yes or no....cyborg and rousey will fight in 2013.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:44 PM)

No. I don't see it happening, Matt. Cyborg is out of the UFC. They UFC signed Tate and a bunch of others to challenge Rousey. Cyborg isn't happening this year.

Julio (NYC)

Chuck, did you read Wright Thompson's piece on MJ turning 50? A man of your refined tastes will like that.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:45 PM)

I did get a chance to read that. Great piece by Wright (as you'd expect). Crazy access he got for that, too. Kudos to Jordan for letting him in for that look. (Who knew Jordan was such a fan of westerns? Or that he spit on his cinnamon rolls to prevent people from eating them?).

Stephen (Brooklyn)

Dana says the door's still ajar for Barnett. Think he signs eventually? I would still love to see him in there fighting the likes of Cain and JDS.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:47 PM)

I would really like seeing him in the UFC; so many great fights to contemplate with him. His shtick about leaving carcasses and scorched earth and human remains in his wake is still fresh and good awkward fun. I will say yes, he ends up in the UFC eventually, but that might be my own optimism taking over.

Tony (CA)

Anbody else hoping sonnen goes down with an injury and HENDO steps in presuming he gets by machida really got screwed out of his title shot he could have done tuf

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:48 PM)

Surely you're not alone (though it's never good to hope for injuries, Tony....).

DAYLON (DALLAS)

Oh so the Chuckster reads .. *shameless plug begin* .. I just published my first book .. UFC fans are sci-fi fans too right .. of course! You gotta read my book Day 8 New Human War Part 1 on Amazon.com (search it) .. 99 cents . it's in your couch brotha! :) Tell your Tweeters too amigo .. Thanks C.

Captain Howdy (Georgetown)

Speaking of Zombie, can I throw in the obligatory weekly "how is KZ doing in his recovery" question?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:49 PM)

I heard he was coming along pretty well and about to resume training, then heard he wouldn't be ready until July. That last thing was the most updated. So, don't look for the Zombie until summer.

Falco (Miami)

Heavyweight is messed up after Overroid lost, nobody wants to see Big Foot-Cain again, JdS doesn't deserve another shot after a loss, DC is moving down, Roy's not a draw, etc. where does the UFC go?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:51 PM)

Well, they book Bigfoot/Velasquez, and buy themselves some time. Whoever wins in that JDS/Reem fight then looks good for the next challenge. Cormier is he odd piece. He's the intrigue, but so long as Velasquez is holding the strap, it's not going to happen. In other words: Reem really did screw things up by not winning against Bigfoot.

Markus (Brooklyn)

What's the word on MMA Live, bro? Is the show coming back in 2013?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:52 PM)

I hope so, Markus, but right now it's still not the in the immediate plans. Hopefully something happens soon, though. Meantime, MMA Live as a web presence goes on. We'll be in Anaheim covering UFC 157.

Nick (Houston)

Quick, who are you taking in the Jimmo-Te-Juna fight? Need to pay the rent!

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:53 PM)

Uh-oh, somebody coming to me for gambling advice. That's a tough, tough fight for me to predict. I am going Jimmo, but Te-Juna has been on a good streak (aside from the Gusty loss). Seven of his eight wins have come via KO/TKO. Jimmo's chin will be open for business, but I think Jimmo lands first.

Tyler (Mission Viejo)

Jacare against Philippou is SICK!!

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:54 PM)

I like that fight, too. I think there are some people who'd have preferred Jacare got a bigger name right off, but Philippou is the real deal. Should be a good scrap. Favoring Jacare, though.

paul (chicago)

welterweight is so stacked right now that jake shields doesn't even factor into the mix! how can he ask for a big name like condit or macdonald if he's coming off a no contest?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:55 PM)

Audacity is the name of the game, Paul. Why not plant that seed? Since Maia wants Saffiedine, and MacDonald doesn't want to fight GSP, there might be something to that.

Matt (New York)

Is Japan still in the Top 5 international markets for MMA, or has that ship sailed?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:57 PM)

UFC doesn't seem like its in a huge hurry to get back there. I think it's an important market, though. Top five? Mexico is a desired market, so is other parts of Asia (China). Brazil, obviously, Canada. UK/Ireland, and mainland Europe, Australia, and India. Japan nestles in there somewhere.

Jose workin n.C. [via mobile]

Chuck, is fw the best division ? It is pretty stacked?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:57 PM)

It's definitely getting that way, but would still say welter and lightweight are more stacked.

A fan of , the reem [via mobile]

Allistar will drop weight. And jds as well? Chuck,your thoughts? Keep fighting todd grissmon!!

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:58 PM)

Todd Grissmon is a monster; there's no way he can cut down to 265.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

Jacare is going to destroy Philippou. Meh

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:58 PM)

Sleeping on Philippou, eh? (I fear you might be right).

Oscar P (South Africa)

how was your valentines day?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (4:59 PM)

Was flying all day out west. So, it was microbrews and 35,000 feet for me.

Jacob (Essex)

Who do you think poses a bigger threat to Jones out of Machida and Hendo?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (5:00 PM)

Going Hendo. Machida did have that memorable first round versus Jones, so maybe he can perpetuate the plan next time. But still like Hendo.

Marc T [via mobile]

Where do u think king mo would fit in UFC lhw ranks? That division is awful right now

Chuck Mindenhall
  (5:01 PM)

Well, he's still got to be right near the top 10. If we have Mousasi high up there, then Mo has to be up there too. But right now he is navigating the TOUGHEST TOURNAMENT IN SPORTS, and doesn't need to concern himself with layperson hypotheticals such as these.

Dennis (MI)

will an MMA organization ever have like a winter classic event each year? not necessarily fighting outside in the cold, but something different like a warship, or something to that effect?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (5:02 PM)

Interesting idea...they always have that New Year's card in Vegas. I would be down for a little novelty fight like this. They haven't done a Troops card in a while; I will write a letter to Dana F. White and see.

Paul (SF, CA)

Refreshing to see an interim title belt actually defended. It seems in recent times interim title bouts have just been glorified #1 contenders matches. How much of this is the fact that Cruz has been laid up for a while, and how much is Barao's willingness to fight?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (5:03 PM)

I think Cruz's setback with that cadaver tendon really helped make the decision easier. But Barao isn't this rich fighter who can afford to sit around. I think he'll defend at least one more time (provided he gets by McDonald...which is no gimme).

Dennis (MI)

Whats your favorite Michael Jordan moment of all time?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (5:05 PM)

I grew up in Denver, and got to see him once a year. There was one year that TR Dunn, the Nuggets star defender, held Jordan to something like 10 points. That stands out. But as far as his moments in general, that time he was making all those threes in the Finals and threw up his hands like "I can't explain it."

Aaron (Calgary, AB)

UFC back in Calgary in 2013? DW owes us after UFC 149...Thoughts on a redeeming main event?

Chuck Mindenhall
  (5:06 PM)

The UFC tried to make that a big event, but Fortuna intervened and everybody kept getting hurt. Even still, I think the UFC wants to return and put on a better card. That one was the second worst of 2012 (the first being UFC 151, which didn't happen). It was worse than UFC 147, even.

Chuck Mindenhall
  (5:07 PM)

Alright guys, I need to shut her down. Thanks for jumping in here today. We'll do it again next week from Anaheim. Meantime, hit my Twitter feed @ChuckMindenhall, and enjoy the fights tomorrow.