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March 20, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Brett Okamoto

Brett Okamoto
  (1:01 PM)

What's up, guys? Sorry I missed last week, was in the air to Montreal. Kind of a lackluster main event I guess you could say. St. Pierre was good but Diaz didn't really challenge him. Even for the people who said the fight was going to go that way, at least a small part of you held out hope we'd see Diaz rise to the occasion and give GSP a scare, right? Let's hit the questions and feel free to share Final Four picks, I'm filling out my bracket today.

scott hiryza olson [via mobile]

st pierre...fact or fluke???

Brett Okamoto
  (1:01 PM)

... what?

Darren (Decatur, Georgia)

Brett, first off let me preference mt comments by saying I really do respect GSP's accomplishments. But tell me he isn't the most boring DOMINANT champion in UFC history? Diaz made some valid pts on George peppering him with baby shop while atop him b/c he was too afraid to "potentially" lose control. I guess I'd wish he was willing to try and finish instead of playing it safe.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:04 PM)

Yeah, Josh Gross and I spoke about this on his recent podcast, which was posted today on ESPN. GSP is pretty much a points fighter right now, you can't really argue that. There are two ways of looking at it ... 1. That style sort of goes against what mixed martial arts is supposed to be about and while it's dominant, you're not impressed. 2. Whatever wins, wins. I do tend to lean towards the second way of thinking AND ... I think St. Pierre's conservative nature might end up hurting him if he books this fight against Hendricks. That point-style fighting is what he's grown accustomed to now and I'm not sure if that's the best way to hang onto a title against Hendricks. Can't wait for that Hendricks fight.

Nick (Melbourne)

I'm sure you'll get asked a lot of superfight questions but all seem to revolve around Anderson Silva and I don't like his chances against Weidman. Does a loss or an average performance make a superfight redundant?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:06 PM)

I wouldn't say redundant is the correct word ... it's tough to say without knowing exactly how the fight plays out but as long as AS wins, I think the superfight talk continues to grow. Even if he barely squeaks it out, even if it's somewhat controversial, I think the thought will be, he still won, he's still undefeated in the UFC, he's not getting any younger, lets see a superfight.

James (Albany)

Hi Brett, Any idea what the numbers (PPV) were for the UFC 158 and UFC 157 yet? Also, given Fitch headlined UFC 87, why wouldnt he have got a cut of PPV like Diaz and supposedly Eddie Alvarez will (if signed)?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:08 PM)

UFC 157 reportedly did around 500k buys. Too soon to know about UFC 158 but Dana said it was "trending" towards Silva/Sonnen numbers, which were reported close to 1 million. I'd be pretty surprised if it reached 1 million. I'd guess around 800k but that's just a guess. As far as Fitch, not every fighter gets a PPV cut if they headline. Only certain ones do.

Marc Iveson (UK)

Back to Aprils fights. The UFC on Fox card is pretty stacked. Lots of big names and interesting bouts but for me Mr Immortal Brown and my man Hardy are gonna steal the show followed closely by Diaz and The Punk! What are you most looking forward too in April?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:10 PM)

Both those fights you mentioned are good. Brown is at his peak right now it seems like, Hardy has turned around and seems like he's in a pretty good place mentally. Even though Hardy has really dedicated himself to being a well-rounded fighter, I'm guessing he goes in wanting to put on a show against an opponent like Brown. Josh Thomson is underrated, excited to see how he'll do against Nate and of course, Cormier making his UFC debut is pretty big.

Cameron (Auckland (NZ) )

Question I would have liked to ask Nick Diaz or Jake Ellengerberger about the Tredwell brothers fighting in Canada and their views on it given they both have MMA brothers. Any idea what the responses would have been? On Joe E, what are his chances of getting a UFC contract?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:12 PM)

Of course I don't know for sure, but I have a feeling both their responses would be, "Hell no." That's a fairly weird story, don't you guys agree? As far as Joe, he has the record obviously, but I don't have any inside info on him being picked up. The UFC is obviously aware of him.

Domnick va. 'workin' [via mobile]

Do you and your wife have any animals?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:13 PM)

I've got a one-year old Corgi named Tulo. He's pretty cool. I'll post a photo of him on Twitter after the chat.

Matt (Nashville)

Who you like to win JDS vs. Hunt? Which makes a better HW title contender?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:14 PM)

Man, don't listen to me on Mark Hunt predictions. Of course my pick is Junior, how could it not be? He showed a crazy good chin in the Cain Velasquez fight, he moves way better than Hunt, his footwork is better, he tucks his chin (Struve doesn't) but I've picked against Hunt in every single one of these wins he's posted. I really think his streak comes to an end against a guy like JDS but ... he keeps proving me wrong.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:15 PM)

As far as which makes a better contender, I'd rather see JDS/Cain III than Hunt/Cain, but don't get me wrong, it's not like I have something against Hunt. If he earns it by beating JDS, I'll be into that fight.

Max (KC)

Going to the TUF final, my first live fight. How early should I get there and what should I look for aside from the ring girls?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:17 PM)

First of all, I'd get there when the doors open. If it's your first live event and you're a passionate fan, see all the fights. There are always going to be some slow ones, but good action happens on prelims and fans miss out on them all the time. What should you look for? I don't know, just soak it in. By the way, if any of you out there are autograph seekers, it has occurred to me the best time to potentially get autographs is at the airport of the host city the following morning. Everybody is flying out by noon it seems like.

scotty (miami)

Will Jon Jones ever fight heavyweight??

Brett Okamoto
  (1:17 PM)

Absolutely. Probably next year.

Chuck (Connecticut)

Here is what Nate Diaz said, per Chuck "Diaz" Mindenhall in his Notes and Nuggets (about Diaz fighting a Diaz): ?That kind of makes me sick, when you think about it. Guys fighting each other, and they?re brothers? They?re a bunch of idiots as far as I?m concerned. It?s ridiculous. Do they even know each other??

Brett Okamoto
  (1:18 PM)

There you go, I was unaware Mindenhall asked him. I guess the father of the two guys called them idiots, too.

Adam (Long Beach)

Doesn't Nick Diaz vs Martin Kampmann make a whole lot of sense right now? Both for the division and stylistically? That has FOTN written all over it.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:18 PM)

Yeah, we threw that matchup out there on the podcast actually. That's probably the next fight I'd make for Diaz.

Joe (CA)

Nick Diaz claimed in the press conference that he thought Condit deserved the win over Hendricks. So......he was watching the Condit-Hendricks fight? Seems like something a fighter wouldn't be doing when his fight in on deck.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:20 PM)

Yeah, I don't think most do but it happens. Keeps their minds occupied, maybe? Sometimes they have teammates fighting in front of them. It happens, but not the norm.

JP (London (via Montreal))

Hi Brett, can we agree on a few objective truths re: GSP as a global response to all the keyboard warriors out there: 1) GSP?s face bruises easily, it?s not a sign of how much of a beating he has taken, 2) GSP always faces the top guy in the division at any given time so finishes will logically be harder to come by and 3) GSP does not ?lay and pray?. You only needed to look at what Hendricks did when he got Condit down by comparison to convince yourself of that. Am I blinded by the fact that I am a fan or can these statements be made without much debate?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:23 PM)

Meh, there's some debate here actually, JP. I would agree GSP's face bruises easily but to kind of use that dismiss an opponent's offense seems ... off. GSP does always face the top guy, however there have been times where it was so clear he was SO dominant over them, that the expectation is there to get the finish, you see what I'm saying? Yes, he's fighting a No. 1 contender, but if he's dominating 100 percent of the fight, if he's that much better than the guy, then finish him. Finally, the term lay and pray is too critical I think. It dismisses the technique GSP uses to control guys, but his offensive output on the floor isn't as high as it could be and he rarely threatens to submit guys. So, I see the points you made, but I think some of those criticisms on Georges are valid.

Mike (Los Angeles)

What is the reason again that Sonnen, a middleweight going up to light heavyweight to fight Jones, when the light heavyweight division is stacked?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:23 PM)

He talks a good game. According to Dana White it's because he "stepped up" but not too many people are buying that. I will say, though, the light heavyweight division ... I wouldn't call it "stacked" compared to some of the others.

Sonny (Fayetteville)

Do you think it is about time that people stop chanting for A. Silva vs GSP? GSP can't hurt anyone anymore and he will probably get knocked out because Silva's take down defense is underrated.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:24 PM)

I would say yes, only because I'd so much rather see Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones. The problem with the GSP/Silva fight was always going to be size. Silva is so much bigger than him. Jones/Silva are comparable in size. The fight makes more sense.

Trevor (Minnespolis)

Man, I hate Nick Diaz.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:25 PM)

How come?

Stoke (Oregon)

Here's what I see happening to GSP. Loses to Hendricks. Loses the rematch with Hendricks. Loses to Silva (if they fight). Loses to Condit. Then Loses to Ellenberger. Maybe for a finale he'll beat BJ Penn.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:26 PM)

I'm not sure if you're a GSP hater or being truthful but ... there is something to that prediction. I could definitely see him losing to Hendricks. I could definitely see there being a rematch. And I could see him losing again. If that happens though, you're theory gets blown up because he doesn't fight AS at that point.

Ray (LA)

Why would Nick even mention his tax problems?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:27 PM)

Nick says whatever comes to mind. He gets on a roll and it's just ... you have no idea what's coming. Everybody laughed at the press conference when he said that and I was like, uh, that statement could be the first chapter of a very sad story for Diaz. His handlers have since said he's paid taxes, but in a somewhat messy way.

Dan (Boston)

What's your take on Fallon Fox? Seems crazy to put a "man" in the cage with a woman.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:29 PM)

I don't think she should be able to compete against women, no. I think the majority of people out there agree on this one. It's not about hate or sexism, it's about, this woman developed throughout her life as a man. She holds physical advantages. These doctors saying that she doesn't ... I don't know ... maybe if you look at hormonal data on a piece of paper it says they are the same but you start testing strength, torque, body frame? You can't tell me she doesn't have an advantage.

Jose (Houston)

I understand AS fought welterweight early on in his career, he can't really make 170 now! Can he? A faster AS kinda scary.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:30 PM)

Silva seems capable of anything, but I'd be pretty skeptical of his ability to make 170 at this point in his career and still be the same guy.

Mike (Los Angeles)

What is the main major obstacle that is preventing Silva/GSP?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:30 PM)

GSP's willingness to move up in weight has always been the key. So right now, I'd say it's that and Silva's fight with Weidman in July.

The Ripper (Victoria BC)

The Condit v Hendricks fight was great. But I can't be the only one who felt that fight really needed to be 5 rounds. Both guys were still giving 100% and Condite was coming on. What is stopping the UFC from making all #1 contender bouts into 5 rounders. I would even go further. Any fight between two top 10 fighters should automatically be 5 rounds. Thoughts?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:32 PM)

I think if you take that one example, of course people wanted another two rounds. But overall, I don't think every fight between two Top 10 guys needs to be 5 rounds. That seems like overkill. Both guys know they have 15 minutes to win the fight. If it turns out they are evenly matched and everybody wants to see another 10 minutes, that's kind of sad, but oh well. There are plenty other fights where it's over before 15 or 15 is plenty of time. UFC could do it though if they wanted. I don't see any reason athletic commissions would stop it from happening.

Matt (DC)

The first two fights on 158 were terrible. Its inexcusable that the UFC puts those guys on a huge PPV when theres other names out there that would make sense! Mark Munoz comes to mind as well as Erik Silva etc.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:34 PM)

It's kind of a double edged sword because I thought there were other fights on the undercard more deserving to be on the PPV than the first two. People were booing the Ricci/Fletcher fight but at the end of the day, these are two developing MMA fighters. They really aren't at the skill level fans expect on a UFC PPV, so in that case, boo the UFC on that call, not the fighters. Because I didn't really see anything wrong with the efforts of Ricci, Fletcher, Camozzi, Ring -- they're just not as technical as the guys in the final three fights. That said, seeing Cruickshank/Makdessi on free TV is good for fans ... so, positives and negatives.

Trevor (Minnespolis)

Diaz is immature and unprofessional. Not talking about the trash talk, etc...I really enjoy that and think its great. But to consistently be late/miss UFC commitments annoys me, so I can't imagine how pissed Dana (his boss) is. -The I'm retiring/wait I'm not retiring BS.-The constant bitching. Boo hoo, GSP gets all this stuff handed to him, etc...-Cheap shots after the bell on Saturday. Punk move. There are things I enjoy about Diaz, but overall, just bothers the crap out of me and enjoyed seeing GSP manhandle him.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:36 PM)

Fair enough. Problems I had with Diaz from last week had nothing to do with any of the trash talk or even missing the open workouts. The media talked about him even more for missing the workouts, so I don't think it's a big deal. But he didn't seem to fight an inspired fight, kind of like, eh, I've shown up, I'll try a little and if it doesn't go my way, I'll pack it in. Then the excuses after I didn't think served him well.

JP (Columbus, OH)

Fair or foul: GSP is the Tim Duncan of MMA - boring, robotic, vanilla, non-crowd pleasing....but a winner, and one of the greatest ever.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:36 PM)

Yeah, that seems accurate to me.

Joe (Deptford, NJ)

Cain is currently -650 against Bigfoot. Give me one legit reason not to put my mortgage on Cain. And don't say "Overeem".

Brett Okamoto
  (1:37 PM)

Serra/GSP.

Josh (Akron, OH)

2 Parter for ya Brett - 1.) Not to take anything away from GSP, his style is beyond effective, but am I alone in thinking that although he dominated and controlled Diaz for the majority of their fight, after round 3 did he seem flat? I remember watching the fight and getting the sense that he was more exhausted than I can ever recall seeing him, is Diaz really that big at WW? 2.) Any logical scenario you can see in which Sonnen bests Jones?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:39 PM)

1. Honestly, I didn't notice it as much as other people have and I have a feeling that's because, did Rogan say something on the broadcast? I've heard A TON of people talk about GSP being gassed and although I thought he looked kinda tired, I didn't think he looked bad in the last two rounds. Maybe that was something that was easier to pick up on TV than cageside. 2. The one thing I'd say Sonnen has going for him is he's closes the distance and gets in guys' faces better than just about anyone. So that takes away from Jones' reach a bit, which is arguably his best attribute. But, I don't think Sonnen can take Jones down.

Kevin (Mile High)

Ellenberger v Rory #1 contenders match on undercard of GSP v Hendricks in the Vegas August heat, what you think?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:39 PM)

Sign me up. Demian Maia is in there as well, I love him at 170 but right now you've got to keep Ellenberger above him. Been there longer and that knockout of Marquardt was real impressive.

Sean (Omaha)

Hey Brett, what was this whole thing about GSP's handwraps? Just another lame excuse for Diaz getting owned?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:41 PM)

If you missed all that, basically a member of camp Diaz is allowed to sit in on GSP's handwrapping. They sent Jake Shields. Shields watched and said, cool. Time went by and Diaz camp said they wanted to inspect it again. Quebec commission was like, "Why? Shields was there and GSP is now ready to go. No." So they complained. Quebec commission held on to the wraps after the fight but they aren't looking into them unless Diaz camp calls again and requests an investigation.

Stoke (Oregon)

Brett,Arlovski or Rumble?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:42 PM)

I'd have to say Rumble.

Jake (Saint Paul)

I see all these headlines about 'dominating performance by Hendricks," were you guys watching the same fight I was? TDs and whiffing on a lot of big left hands.... that's what winning has been relegated to?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:43 PM)

"Dominating" isn't accurate but I say Hendricks was impressive. He didn't whiff on ALL those left hands. He landed it quite a bit. And although he couldn't keep Condit down, I thought he was 100 percent on takedowns.

Jose (Houston)

Realistically, how does Maia stack up against the best at 170? Georges?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:44 PM)

I think he matches up well with Georges on the ground. We saw that with Jon Fitch. This isn't a jiu-jitsu guy who works exclusively off his back and has now wrestling skills. He's a powerful grappler. If that fight were next, my concern would be his standup. I think GSP would feel alright keeping it on the feet and outjabbing him. Maia's standup is still relatively ineffective.

JP (Columbus, OH)

I think Maia needs to beat a top welterweight, still - I say that despite UFC's reluctance to pair winners vs losers, Condit-Maia would be an excellent measuring stick.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:46 PM)

I still like Maia vs. Tyron Woodley. Tarec Saffiedine would make sense, too.

Peter (Boston)

Brett what do you see as next for Overeem think the UFC will book him before may plays out? WIth JDS already matched up and his performance against Silva would like to think the UFC would give him a tune up fight before (maybe Browne/Gonzaga winner)

Brett Okamoto
  (1:47 PM)

I don't know ... you give him a tune-up you run the risk of him losing and at that point, the intrigue in that guy is waaaay down. I think they'll come back and book him to a big fight, still. Problem is, who? If Werdum beats Big Nog, I can't see them making that fight again. It was awful.

Jeff (OH)

Brett I'm kind of a newbie to UFC so I don't know all the history - but speaking of Serra/GSP...how did Serra end up in that fight to begin with?!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:49 PM)

It came after the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show. It was a special season of the show featuring veterans instead of new guys. He won the welterweight bracket and got the shot.

Joe (St. Louis)

Next for Cowboy? Possibly guy is right back in the discussion with another strong performance

Brett Okamoto
  (1:50 PM)

He's been booked to May, fighting K.J. Noons. Apparently, he also had a bad rock-climbing fall last month, but is uninjured. That seems like a terrible matchup for Noons.

Kogi (Sacramento) [via mobile]

Where's the hype for the spider vs bones?! That's the superfight to make. Imagine the creativity in striking in that one. Any word on it?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:51 PM)

They're both booked to fights already. They both win? By summer that will be the biggest story in MMA for sure. And I think it would happen.

Cam (Los Angeles, CA)

Does any fighter (non-Blackzillian) need a change of camp more than Nick Diaz? He has had no gameplan or corner help the past two fights. And none of the scrap pack has really improved lately outside of Nate, who may have plateaued himself.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:52 PM)

Not a bad thought, but I can't see Diaz leaving that camp. It does seem like he and his brother though have fallen in love with certain aspects of the game too much ... almost to a fault. Who knows? Maybe Diaz does retire but gets into boxing. That seems like it's his first love lately over MMA.

Dan (PA)

Ive been waiting for so long to see Gilbert Melendez in the UFC. Do you think he has a good chance against Bendo. Either way I think it will be an awesome fight and easily Fight of the Night.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:54 PM)

I think Gilbert is a terrific fighter ... but I don't think he'll have the same consistency in the UFC as he had in Strikeforce. It's a packed division. That said, I think he matches up well against Ben. He's pretty athletic, good defensive wrestling, cardio is good. I think it will be a good fight but I think Ben wins.

Miggy (Philly)

Hey Brett. Who has the better shot at knocking off a UFC Legend: Weidman or Hendricks? What do you put the early odds at?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

The Weidman fight already has odds on some offshores, Silva is about -215. I think Hendricks/GSP will be much closer. GSP -150? Around there? I give Hendricks the better shot to win.

Joe (Deptford, NJ)

My boy Jamie Varner needs a fight. Bobby Green make sense?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:56 PM)

Sure. Varner definitely has a much bigger name than Green but other than that the fight makes sense.

Nathan (Vancouver)

If Condit v. Hendricks isn't worthy of being a 5 rounder, then don't make it the co-main even to a title fight

Brett Okamoto
  (1:57 PM)

What? I didn't say it's not "worthy" of being five rounds but seriously, how many fights are "worthy" of being five rounds? I'd say ... a lot. You could argue Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida should have been five rounds. I'm just saying enough is enough with the five rounds. We already have title fights and all main events.

Jake (Saint Paul)

I personally think that if you are shelved for 18+ months.... you lose your title. Sorry but that is just how it needs to be. The Dominator hasn't done anything but chirp from the boradcast booth for 2 years now. Barao = the Real ChampThoughts?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:58 PM)

ESPN had us remove Cruz from the rankings this week. I would agree with you, as much as it sucks for Cruz. He has no fight scheduled, Barao is booked to another title defense.

Scott (Chicago)

Brett, as a wrestler, I love watching how NCAA guys have a chance to make some dough after competing in College and sometimes the Olympics. What kind of an effect do you think Wrestling being omitted from 2020 Olympics would have on on MMA? Also, 1-10, what chance do you give Wrestling of remaining an Olympic sport?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:00 PM)

I could be wrong, but I don't think it has a huge effect on MMA one way or another. At the end of the day, collegiate wrestlers still have to be intrigued enough by MMA to cross over and compete. I don't think there will be this huge, noticeable effect of, "Oh, I can't compete in the Olympics now, so I'll fight." There will be cases of that for sure, but I don't think we'll see this enormous influx from wrestling. As far as wrestling coming back, I'm in the same boat as most of the fighters and wrestlers you talk to, it has to come back at some point. The outrage has been pretty high and it just makes no sense to not have wrestling in the Olympics.

Joe (Deptford, NJ)

You can give the Barao the "Real Champ" title all you want. But it won't stop people from thinking that you hadn't really earned it until you beat the champ, unless he retires obviously.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:01 PM)

I do agree with that. Except remember there are casual fans who wouldn't really know about the Cruz situation but ultimately, I agree. Most people would still associate the title with Cruz.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:03 PM)

Alright guys, let's break for the day. Thanks as always for the questions. Bit of a slow weekend ahead, although you do have some good action on that World Series of Fighting card. Feel free to hit me on Twitter anytime, @bokamotoESPN and we'll see you again next week.