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June 6, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Brett Okamoto

Brett Okamoto
  (1:05 PM)

What's up everyone? Thanks for joining the chat as always. Glad to have you here. Let's get right into it today, plenty to talk about. Jones/Gustafsson rematch is on. Vitor Belfort has made his test results public. Solid UFC lightweight fight this weekend. Ask away.

Marc Iveson (UK)

Dude! Where was the heads up that chats were switching last week? I Just presumed you were somewhere taking shirtless photos with Team Alpha Male whilst surfing and doing push ups simultaneously!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:08 PM)

How do you know I wasn't? And the heads up were out there, but there was some confusion over the start time last week. Anyway, I've got a shirt on now and ready to chat. This will be the time and day moving forward.

Nick (Melbourne)

Hi Brett, Reading your chat's over the last few years, you seem to get asked a lot about which champions will defend their titles a lot and how do you see the title picture at the end of a certain time. On that how long do you see TJ being champion and also how do you see the upcoming Aldo / Chad rematch going given Jose's recent comments about honour and almost revenge?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:09 PM)

Hey Nick. Yeah, champions and title reigns are always going to be popular chat questions I think. For Dillashaw ... I mean, I don't see him as a Jon Jones-GSP-Anderson Silva-Jose Aldo kind of guy yet. I would set the over/under on his title defenses at the 1.5-2 range and you'd probably get bettors on both sides. Aldo/Mendes rematch? I think it's a sleeper for fight of the year. Chad's got a decent shot.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:10 PM)

I don't buy much into the revenge thing. Aldo is motivated in all of his fights, doesn't matter that his teammate just lost.

Simon (Oakleigh)

Where do you see Jon Dodson sitting in the list for TJ's next opponents? Talking to TJ about a year ago it was (then) his first loss and he was looking forward to a rematch. Is that an option and do you see TJ's chances being better now in a rematch?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:11 PM)

It could be an option down the road but right now Dodson is chasing a flyweight title and Dillashaw has plenty of challengers ahead. If it did happen, we're talking at least a year away probably and who knows what happens between now and then? If they fought again, of course I like T.J.'s chances better. He was very raw first time they fought.

LarrysandersJoe (Newark, UK)

Hi. With the switch to Fridays will you have time to chat on weigh-in days?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:11 PM)

I should at this time. Usually weigh-ins are going to be a few hours after the chat wraps.

Stan (Edison, NJ)

They can't do an immediate rematch with Dillashaw can they? Making it so that you have to beat a champ twice in a row to actually win the belt is silly.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:13 PM)

I don't think the concept of an immediate rematch for a dominant champ is silly, but in this particular case it would be, yeah. The fight was not close. At all. And Barao, as much as there was talk about him being on P4P lists, wasn't a guy who defended the title 6-7 times. He actually only defended the "official" title once. I don't think an immediate rematch is in the cards for Barao.

James (Tokyo (JPN) )

You'd obviously think Joe Rogan has inside information on Vitor? Obviously both him and I'd assume Wanderlai will be facing the NSAC. What do you see as the outcome and future prospects for both as far as the UFC in concerned?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:15 PM)

Well, we now know (as if we didn't before) for a fact that Vitor tested for high levels of testosterone in Nevada back in February. He posted the results via Twitter today. He'll show up for the NSAC meeting on June 17 and I don't know how the commission could justify licensing him. That's a failed test, four months ago. That's relevant to him receiving a license. We'll just have to see what he attributes it to and if the NSAC shows him leniency. As far as Silva is concerned, the NSAC will likely handle his refused test basically as a failed test and if I had to guess, will make him ineligible to apply for a license for a certain amount of time. It sounds like the UFC plans on keeping them both.

Tooley [via mobile]

What's up brett? I don't think there will be much shake up in the titles this year. I thin the best shot of any contender has to go to El Nino in the lightweight division doesn't it?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:16 PM)

That's probably right, yeah. Johny Hendricks isn't invincible either. None of them are, technically, but if we're picking the champs most likely to lose rest of the year, Pettis and Hendricks might lead the list.

Chris (Atlanta)

Greetings Brett. I'm a relatively new, casual MMA fan. I've talked to several fight fans trying to learn more about the finer points of Boxing and MMA and one thing that really stands out to me is that a significant amount of Boxing fans are really unenthusiastic about MMA and vice-versa. It seems that both would appeal to similar elements psychologically, so is this just my limited exposure or is this the norm?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:17 PM)

Hmmm, I'd say both. There are boxing "purists" who dismiss MMA without giving it much of a chance. There are MMA people who think boxing is boring in comparison. I would say there is a far greater amount of fans who can enjoy both, though. Maybe not on equal terms, but they don't bash one or the other.

James (Albany )

Hi Brett, Good to see the MMA chats'a are continuing - thought we'd lost MMA on ESPN for a sec which would be a pity as you and others (Gross / Mildenhall / Dundas) I"ve read over the last few years did such a great job !. So for a question, do you expect Vitor to be approved to fight Chael at the next PPV and if not, who will Chael's opponent be?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:19 PM)

Thanks James and if I had to make my best guess ... I would actually say Belfort will not be licensed and Chael will be pulled from the card. We'll see on June 17.

Keith (Denver) [via mobile]

1st....Rockies make me sad!!! 2nd.....what are your thoughts on the McGregor/Brandao fight??

Brett Okamoto
  (1:19 PM)

Bleh, can't even talk about the Rockies. Terrible. Love the McGregor, Brandao fight. Aggressive, offensive featherweights who fight on lots of emotion. What's not to like?

Greg (DC)

Was 100k buys a success for Bellator's first ppv? And who did you have winning the King Mo vs Rampage fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:21 PM)

I would say yeah, 100k buys for Bellator's first go (after a main event went down) was a great number. And I had Mo winning the fight, but barely. The third round was pretty brutal in terms of picking a winner. I could have easily seen it a draw, with a 10-10 third round.

Ryan Gonzo (Columbus OH)

What are your sleeper picks for this weekends card?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:23 PM)

I like most of the favorites again this weekend ... I think Henderson is a bad matchup for Khabilov. Think Pearson out-slugs Sanchez. If I were going to pick a betting underdog, it might be Danny Martinez over Scott Jorgensen, but probably not. Lance Benoist over Bobby Voelker is an upset threat.

Dan (Detroit)

Did Wanderlai really run away from the drug test or is that just Chael being Chael?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:24 PM)

Seems like one of those things you can describe it however you want, the bottom line is they came to his gym and he left without submitting the test. Then he flew to Brazil.

Andy (Chicago)

Is Cormier going to sit back until after Jones/Gus 2?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:24 PM)

I would imagine so. Still unclear whether he's going to have an operation on the knee he injured prior to the Hendo fight.

Brian (Charlottesville)

Well, I'll be the first to ask the obvious question on everyone's mind. What's your thoughts on the Jones vs. Gus 2 fight and how it finally came about with all of the back and forth chat between Jones and Dana? Also, who you got in the rematch, and by what outcome?You're the best Brett!!!!!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:27 PM)

As far as the back and forth between the two sides goes, I think it was a little overblown. At the end of the day, the Jones is fighting Gustafsson, which is what the UFC wanted. There was obviously some tension between the them and the fight didn't happen exactly when the UFC wanted it to fall on its schedule, but it got done. Jones was in South America, he came home, he flew to Vegas and they signed a deal. Describing it as some "Jon Jones saga" is kind of dramatic if you ask me. I've got Jones in the rematch.

The Smiling Knight (Coram/NY)

Now it says your chat starts at 3pm.Someone at ESPN doesn't like you.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:27 PM)

I think Dan Rafael is trying to sabotage it, scared I'm moving in on his Friday chat turf.

The Smiling Knight (Coram/NY)

When are Vitor's test results coming out ?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:28 PM)

They are out. He posted them. I haven't had a chance to look over them as much as I want to, but according to the results he published, his T level was at 1472 ng/Dl on Feb. 7 and then dropped to 142 ng/Dl by May 29. Pretty crazy.

Nick Diaz (Stockton, CA)

Homey, will the UFC pay me more in the fight with Silva. What's up with my lil bro?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:29 PM)

No. The UFC is not going to renegotiate your contract, because then every fighter will want to renegotiate their contract. Same deal with your lil bro. Just isn't going to happen.

Sandy (Ft.Lauderdale)

Do you think Anderson Silva will fight Nick Diaz or the winner of Bisping/Le in his return? Diaz/Silva seems like it would sell very well and I think many people would like to see it.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:31 PM)

Probably all comes down to Nick. If you're the UFC, of course you want that fight. Stylistically, it should favor Silva (assuming he's the same guy after what happened). So, you get a home run sell of a fight and Silva (likely) looks good in a return. If Nick agrees to it, I would assume it'll happen.

Sandy (Ft.Lauderdale)

Do you know if Sonnen/Belfort will take place at 185 or 205? How do you see the fight playing out and who wins? Vitor will likely get the next title shot at 185 but if Chael wins do you think he will as well?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:32 PM)

Fight is at 205 pounds. If it happens (still not a guarantee), I think I like Vitor. Wouldn't bet on it though ... is he the same guy off TRT? You just saw the numbers on his T level I just mentioned. If Vitor wins, he is the No. 1 contender for sure. Same thing wouldn't go for Chael.

Mat(562mma) CA [via mobile]

Hey Brett.. Wow how bout that lawler/brown matchup.. 2 extremely fierce guys like seems almost impossible to not b epic, but 3 fights in 4 months for Robbie ..I'd hat to see his bubble burst due to over training or inability to peak again so quick....I'm a part time strength and conditioning coach and I think 2 back to back fight camps might b the max unless approached w extreme preciseness ..what'd u think. Should he try to just keep momentum Rollin ??..

Brett Okamoto
  (1:34 PM)

First off, yes, great fight. Any fight involving one of these two guys is great, so putting them in together is sort of bananas right now. I would share your concern over Robbie's back-to-back-to-back deal here ... he's an animal. It's paid off. If he wins, he's already back to the belt. Scheduled for five rounds though, it's no joke. I still like him to win.

Josh (Texas)

Long time, no talk. Brett, give me your top 5 most reliable UFC fighters that Uncle Dana can call on when there is an injury. For me it's Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, Donald Cerrone, Rich Franklin, and used to be Chris Leben.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:35 PM)

Can't argue with that list. I'm sure there are others who deserve to be on it but you hit the obvious ones for sure.

Thumper (Bay Area)

What's up with the lack of big fights in the UFC lately? There is a ton of talent in each division, but it seems like things are taking a turn towards boxing where top-10 guys don't want to fight other top-10 guys because they're afraid of losing and being sent all the way back down the ladder.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:37 PM)

I don't think it's reached that point yet, but yeah, you've got the Diaz brothers holding out for financial reasons. Occasionally, you'll see a situation where the UFC just doesn't want to burn two contenders (see Gustafsson, Cormier situation) so won't match them up against each other ... by and large though I think the UFC makes the majority of the "big fights" it should be making.

Andy (Chicago)

Have you ever witness a MMA fighter cramp up mid fight and not be able to finish the fight? Serious question.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:38 PM)

Ha. No.

Greg (DC)

Im confused with all this Vitor Belfort failed a test, needs a license, is scheduled to fight Sonnen talk. Moto, break it down for us, will the Belfort-Sonnen fight happen or not?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:39 PM)

Seriously, all it comes down is the excuse he uses on June 17 (I expect there to be doctors and lots of potentially confusing medical talk) and how tough the NSAC is feeling that day.

Ken (ca.)

The Jones / Gus rematch might be an even better fight than the first. Both guys are going to be motivated big time, any change in your pick? If Gus puts combos together early ........???!!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:40 PM)

Jones will be more prepared this time. I think he has more adjustments to make than Gustafsson. If you're Gus, your game plan is very similar to what you did in the first fight, just do it better. Jones' game plan for the rematch will be completely different from the first.

steve (albany)

Hey Brett, where does a win put Khabilov? Maybe a number 1 contender fight against Khabib since no one else wants to fight him?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:40 PM)

Maybe, those two guys go waaaaay back. Khabilov actually told me that Khabib's father was his first sambo coach back in Russia. That division is so deep they might not have to fight each other.

Greg (DC)

Would Nick Diaz vs Anderson Silva be at 185?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:41 PM)

Yes.

Ken (ca.)

Brett, auto update still "OFF" on my screen, and who are you picking with Cotto/Sergio match? I know it's mma chat, had to ask........

Brett Okamoto
  (1:43 PM)

Oh man, what a fight. Can't wait. Have a wedding to attend that night so won't be able to watch live ... I have to go Martinez.

John (Austin)

Hey Brett, Are we going to get a point with Jon Jones where he will be viewed as kind of an A-Rod (minus the PEDs) type of figure? Meaning, all the talent in the world, but can't get out of his own way for whatever reason, thus hurting his legacy.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:45 PM)

I don't think you can compare the two. A-Rod at this point, the PED thing has become a MAJOR aspect to his career and how you interpret him. Jones doesn't have that and to compare him to something like that is probably a little unfair (I see why you would, but at least personally, I can't do it). I think Jones might hurt himself with the fans that are paying very close attention, but to the masses, I don't think he's done irreparable damage yet and I kind of don't think he will. If he keeps winning his legacy will be fine.

Li (Chicago)

With TRT being banned how does this effect Big Foot Silva? Doesn't he have an actual medical condition that requires him to take it?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:46 PM)

He does, but it's banned. I don't see any commissions making an exception for him at this point.

Andy (Chicago)

Do you think Diego can bait Ross into a wild throwdown and come out with the victory Saturday?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:47 PM)

Yes on the first part, no on the second.

Andy (Chicago)

Hunt/Nelson should be fun. What is next for Miocic?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:48 PM)

Depends on JDS. When is he ready to go, does the UFC try to make the JDS/Overeem fight again in the fall? Maybe he'll take the winner of Arlovski/Schaub?

Craig (KC)

I really like Struve, and am glad he is coming back. What are your thoughts on his fight with Mitrione?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:49 PM)

He should win, but he leaves his chin exposed and Mitrione can crack if given the opportunity. I'd take Struve in that fight, though.

Josh (Texas)

Does the loser of Gegard Mousasi and Tim Kennedy/Luke Rockhold welcome Anderson Silva back to the octagon?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:49 PM)

No.

The Smiling Knight (Coram/NY)

Who is next for Mousasi? Do you really think Lil Nog will fight Rumble ?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:49 PM)

I would guess Kennedy and yeah, I think he will.

Jose R (Orlando, FL)

Ivicta on fight pass I think is a great pick up for MMA / UFC fans. DO you see in time UFC absorbing Invicta or keeping it around like WEC a few years back?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:51 PM)

For now, 100 percent keeping it separate like they did with WEC. If it reaches a point where the female divisions are deep enough to absorb all of them into the UFC (which is years away) then yeah, they might try to buy it at that point.

J (AZ)

Shouldn't Cormier hold off on surgery what if Gus or Jones gets injured?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:52 PM)

Depends how much the injury affects him. From what I've gathered speaking to him and those around him, it was causing him pain this last time because it happened in camp, but doesn't necessarily affect his abilities ... so, it's a tough decision. If you can put off surgery at 35 then that's probably the route you prefer, but there's also something to be said for getting it fixed so you can compete for a title with two ACLs instead of one.

Ron (Poundtown)

What do you think about Invicta and UFC teaming up? One step closer to Rhonda v Cyborg?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:54 PM)

I honestly don't think they are related. If the UFC signs Cyborg and makes the Rousey/Cyborg fight it will be because that fight is big and sells PPV, not because they signed a deal to put Invicta on Fight Pass. Obviously, the fact the two promotions are on good terms is helpful, but they've always been on good terms, even before this announcement. I don't think the Fight Pass deal necessarily makes the fight for more likely to happen.

Jonathan (Indiana)

After the Diego/Kampmann fight, I don't put anything past Sanchez. Pearson could KO him and they still might declare Diego the winner...

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

In his hometown, too. If I were Pearson, I wouldn't take anything for granted when it comes to the scorecards.

Craig (KC)

I am looking forward to Rory-Woodley fight coming up soon. Who do you like? I think it is an interesting pairing with Rory size vs. Woodley speed. More times than not, go with the speed!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:57 PM)

Rory is pretty good at defending himself though ... dictating range, counter-punching, keeping space. Most dangerous part of the fight for him will be early. Would have helped him out if it were a five-round fight. Is Woodley fast and technical enough to close distances and knock him out or will MacDonald be able to point-fight him? Really intriguing fight. I'm probably picking MacDonald.

Eric R (Fort Worth, TX)

I was hoping you could shine some light on the advantage/disadvantage of weight cutting. Is there a trade-off b/w cutting a lot of weight so weigh in much more on fight night or to walk around at a weight close to your fighting weight so the cut is minimal and doesn?t affect your body as much? For example, Daniel Cormeir cuts a lot of weight so is a big LHW while a fighter such as Chris Weidman seems to always keep himself around the same weight so would have to think his cardio is better for his selected weight. Do you think one way is competitively better than the other?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:00 PM)

Intelligently cutting weight is an advantage. There is no doubt about it. Want to see someone who does it well? Look at this weekend, with Ben Henderson. Huge lightweight, but maintains speed and cardio. Not cutting weight doesn't necessarily help your cardio. In fact, it can hinder it, since you can get by with less cardio than guys who have to drop weight. Like anything, it's about finding a right balance, optimal weight.

thomas (richmond)

I get Jones is kind of kookie but why don't people respect his athletic ability and the reality that he's basically been challenged once in 21 fights...shouldn't that earn him more respect than he gets? I laugh at the people that talk about him being stretchered out but then ignore that Gus was in the hospital as well after the fight

Brett Okamoto
  (2:02 PM)

I don't understand why people bring up the fact Jones went to the hospital as a bad thing to begin with. Someone needs to explain that one to me, actually. The guy was hurt badly, but won the fourth and fifth rounds of that fight. Basically had Gus out on his feet in the fifth. Shouldn't we be admiring the fact Jones fought through a situation that sent him to the hospital, rather than focusing on the fact he went to the hospital in the first place? As far as his personality goes, people can have whatever opinion they want on that. But as a fighter, there's not a whole lot to criticize.

Jonathan (Indiana)

Have people actually heard some of the things that Anderson Silva has said through the years? Heck, his manager Ed Soars has been known to intentionally mistranslate what Silva says in order to help him come across better. Jon Jones isn't even at Anderson Silva level, let alone ARod level... Being arrogant frequently naturally comes along with being very good at what you do. This covers not just sports, but other entertainment like musicians, actors, and even things like scientists and businessmen. In the grand scale of pound for pound arrogance, Jones isn't even ranked.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:04 PM)

He's definitely arrogant. That's just fact, really. I think the way he shows it is easier to latch on to if you're a critic of his and he's one of the UFC's biggest stars, so of course there's more attention on it. It does get overblown though.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:06 PM)

Alright, solid hour of chatting. Have to run but thanks for participating, we'll go longer next week ahead of UFC 174. Get the word out the chat has moved to Friday for me and hit me on Twitter anytime @bokamotoESPN. Enjoy the weekend.