Each week, ESPN.com MMA writer Brett Okamoto, ESPN Insider senior editor Mike Huang and a guest panelist tackle five topics that are buzzing in the world of mixed martial arts.
This week, former UFC heavyweight Pat Barry joins the panel.
1. Who has the best chance at dethroning Chris Weidman?
Pat Barry: That's a tough question. After Anderson Silva's first loss, I would have confidently said a serious Silva will be dangerous for Chris. But after the first and second losses, I'm not sure Anderson can mentally come back from that.
Brett Okamoto: Not Vitor Belfort. There are legitimate questions about what he'll look like off TRT, and even if there weren't, stylistically I think Weidman is well suited for Belfort. To me, it's Ronaldo Souza. That guy is a beast. Luke Rockhold is in the conversation, but I'd pick Weidman in a stand-up fight against Rockhold, which I think that would turn into.
Mike Huang: The obvious answer would be Silva, because he outclasses the rest of the contenders. That includes guys such as Rockhold and "Jacare" Souza. But if not those guys, I think the next person would be a light heavyweight who moves down. I don't think Dan Henderson would beat Weidman, but if someone like Phil Davis made the move, it might prove Weidman's mettle. But I still think Weidman's overall game is rock-solid over any contender besides Silva.
2. Was Ronda Rousey's annihilation of Alexis Davis the most one-sided fight in history?
Barry: I wouldn't call that one-sided even though it was. I'd say for a fight to be one-sided it has to go longer. That was more of a decimation.
Okamoto: It wasn't a prolonged, 25-minute beating (like TJ Dillashaw over Renan Barao). To me, it always feels like the long, drawn-out victories feel the most one-sided because the loser just has no answer. I guess it might have been the most one-sided in that I felt like, after watching it, they could have fought 100 times and Rousey would have won every single time.
Huang: Pretty darn close. Rousey really wanted to finish the fight and get to eat her postfight wings. Though it doesn't come close to the speed with which Rousey dispatched Davis, Anderson Silva's lopsided victory over Thales Leites was just as bad. Leites came out and just dropped to his back immediately each round. Dana White was livid after that fight and Leites was banished shortly after his next loss for nearly four years. It was that bad.
3. What was BJ Penn's finest moment?
Barry: His entire career! The ups and the downs -- he's one of the best forever.
Okamoto: UFC 46. Jan. 31, 2004. A balding, chubby Penn staring across the cage at the defending welterweight champion Matt Hughes. It was Penn's debut at 170 pounds and it set the tone for something he would do his entire career -- dismiss the importance of weight classes and go after the best guy in the world. That rear-naked finish and the images of Penn on his cornerman's shoulders, slapping his face, is an unforgettable UFC moment.
Huang: By the time Penn turned Diego Sanchez's face into ground beef at UFC 107, he had fought huge wars throughout the lightweight and middleweight divisions. Against Sanchez, his striking skills were sharp and on full display. Save for the loss to Georges St.-Pierre at UFC 94, Penn was riding a five-fight win streak. I remember telling "Fighters Only" magazine I didn't see anyone really competing with BJ in 2009. And then Frankie Edgar came along.
4. Should Dominick Cruz have been granted an immediate title shot?
Barry: I want to say yes. But Cruz has been off for like 11 years! Maybe one fight before it, and a win gets the title shot
Okamoto: Had he wanted it, I would have been fine seeing it. I know it has been three years, but when Cruz went down with the knee injury, he was one of the top five fighters in the world. Nobody knows for sure what he'll look like after this layoff, but he deserved to try to reclaim his belt if he wanted to. I think a "tuneup" fight was more attractive to Cruz, though. He and his team seem confident a title shot will inevitably come.
Huang: No. Even Cruz said in "The Weigh-In" a couple of weeks ago that he'd be happy just to get into the Octagon considering everything he has been through with his knee. I don't think the UFC would put that kind of pressure on him. He needs a tuneup fight first -- a good tuneup -- and then maybe.
5. Would it be fair to Chad Mendes if his rescheduled rematch against Jose Aldo lands in Brazil?
Barry: Yep, because where the fight takes place matters only before the fight. Once the fight starts, you don't care where you are unless it's underwater. That would be hard to ignore.
Okamoto: Not really, but that's life. Aldo is the champion. It would be different if Mendes had the belt and the UFC were asking him to travel to Brazil a second time. (Aldo smoked him in the first round when they fought there at UFC 142.) Personally, I'd prefer to see the rematch on a more level playing field, but if the UFC schedule dictates that fight needs to happen in Brazil, Mendes doesn't really have a choice.
Huang: Honestly, I think the whole hometown, home-country advantage is overrated. Would it be fair? I don't think Mendes really cares.