Chat with Chuck Mindenhall
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, MMA blogger Chuck Mindenhall stops by to chat about the news from the octagon.
Mindenhall began covering MMA for ESPN.com in October 2010. He has worked as a features writer for FIGHT! Magazine, and contributed to many other publications, such as the LA Times, Village Voice and LA Weekly.
Send your questions now and join Mindenhall Friday at 4 p.m. ET!
Chuck Mindenhall (4:00 PM)
What's up guys? Here we gather again for another Friday Chat. How about Nate Diaz at UFC on FOX 3 last week? Or Alan Belcher? Thought both looked phenomenal. We've got Bellator tonight and Korean Zombie against Dustin Poirier happening in Fairfax on Tuesday. Plus the Nuggets force Game 7 against an NBA Tyranny. What's on your minds? Let's get this thing rolling....
In honor of mother's day this weekend, which fighter's mother is most outspoken in support for her kid?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:02 PM)
That's a good one. Hmm. Are any of them outspoken? When you mentioned it I thought of those Diaz's out in the 209. But for the wrong reasons. Gray Maynard's mom is great, but not outspoken. On another note, JaVale McGee's mom looks like she's going to whip him every time he goaltends.
Realistically, when Cruz comes back who will be holding the interim 135-pound strap? I'd say it'll be Mayday McDonald. That kid is a monster.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:03 PM)
It's hard to say. For one thing, ACL's are different for everybody in terms of recovery. Presuming he's back by this time next year, I think it will be Barao. What's kind of crazy is that for all the hoopla about Cruz/Faber III, if Faber loses to Barao (or McDonald, or Menjivar) that trilogy may never happen.
Hey Chuck, with the beating that Belcher handed out last Saturday, and the way he did it, going to the ground with Toquinho and escaping the heel hooks, where do you put him on the heirarchy of MWs not named Silva or Sonnen?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:05 PM)
He's definitely top ten in my mind. That was so nerve to tempt his limbs against the Paul Harris monster, but clearly he knew what he was doing. I would like to see him against the winner of Belfort/Wanderei (which is to say, I'd like to see him against Belfort).
You're late and the auto update is off. WTH?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:06 PM)
I'm right on time. What you mean? The auto-update is always slow to take. Let me turn off and on again.
T.R. Foley (Chicago)
I'm at a bar and I'm debating whether or not to start drinking. Is it okay to use EST coupled with the NYC Friday 4PM stop hour to justify a Goose Island Matilda? Everything else in my line of work is based on EST. Also, which fighters do these beers remind you of? Guinness, Shiner Bock, Sapporo.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:07 PM)
Of course you can always use "airport logic" that it's past noon somewhere. In this case, you are way into Happy Hour. As for which fighters to those beers, will go Marcus Davis (Guinness), Johny Hendricks (Shiner Bock) and Jason "Mayhem" Miller (Sapporo).
Chuck - Are you like me in rather seeing Nate/Ben, rather than "The Answere"/Ben?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:08 PM)
I am okay with Benson/Edgar II, and think it's deserved. However, the way Nate has looked since returning to 155 pounds, I am excited to see him against either Pettis or the winner of that sequel.
Nice article about Henderson having a chance against Jones. I actually am leaning towards picking Henderson, because I think he'll land taht H-Bomb.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:10 PM)
It's not a very popular way of thinking, because up until this point it's not whether or not Jones is mortal, it's "is there anybody who can even compete with him?" I just happen to think Hendo's tools/experience will be a better test.
Why does everyone feel sorry for Gil Melendez for being in Strikforce isn't he the one who decided to re-sign with them?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:11 PM)
Good question. He did sign with Strikeforce, but when he inked Zuffa was predicting good things for the sister promotion. Then it went south, and he remained partitioned off from the elite guys. But hey, in the end, he signed the contract. And that doesn't mean people aren't curious as to what he'd do in the UFC.
Kris (Los Angeles)
Am I the only one who would like to see Eddie Alvarez get a title shot right away in the UFC?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:12 PM)
Yes. I think you are the only one (besides Alvarez and a handful of Phillyphiles). He lost to Chandler in November, and the UFC's lightweight division is crammed with talent. He'll have to earn his shot when he gets there.
Chad S. (Chicago, IL)
With Diaz waiting for the title shot, what is next for Showtime Pettis, besides getting healthy???
Chuck Mindenhall (4:14 PM)
Maybe the winner of Maynard/Guida, though he already lost to Guida and a match-up with Maynard would be disaster I think. My guess is that Diaz won't wait for Bendo/Edgar, and will fight Pettis in a No. 1 contender's bout, even though as of right this second Dana and Nate aren't entertaining it.
I here Eddie vs. Petis.... I'm down
Chuck Mindenhall (4:14 PM)
That's another very interesting possibility.
How close was Miller to biting his tongue off?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:15 PM)
I don't know, but that was nasty. That tongue was turning beet red.
Marc (Chicago, IL)
How would Ronda Rousey or Cyborg Santos fare against a UFC fighter in their weight class? Are they worse than everyone on the UFC roster?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:16 PM)
Ha! It's impossible for me to answer that. It's funny how often people wonder how Cyborg would do against the dudes, though.
What do you think about the brazil card? would you save your money?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:17 PM)
It definitely has lost the big attraction. I'd still get it, though. Vitor/Wandy should be a fine enough bloodfest.
Did you buy any hats in NY/ Jersey?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:18 PM)
No. Quick in and out.
Who gets there hands on a UFC title first Nick, Nate or neither?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:19 PM)
I'd say Nate, just because he's in line for a title. But Nick isn't far off, either, and if Nate waits out Bendo/Edgar, Nick would nearly be back to fighting again. But I guess Nate.
Seems like the UFC would make more money on the Faber/Mcdonald match after Mcdonalds latest fight.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:20 PM)
People are completely split on this, but McDonald's not a bad path to go. He is only 21 years old, though, and the UFC may want to bring him up a little slower. I still think it'll be Barao, but McDonald is a real possibility. I thought we'd hear the news today about who Faber is fighting.
do you think tyron woodley came become a threat to top tier welterweights?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:21 PM)
He's still got some holes in his game, but the wrestling base would give people trouble. I think can become a threat. Will see how he does against Marquardt.
How big of a threat do you feel Alan Belcher would be to Silva's belt?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:22 PM)
He looks more and more threatening every time out. I think he's vastly underrated. Was talking to Jorge Rivera on the MMA Live set last week, and he predicted Belcher would beat Palhares. He also talked about him like the best kept secret in the UFC. That secret is getting out after that performance.
Can we create a 155 lb part II class?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:23 PM)
There for a while they did. They called it featherweight. Remember the exodus? That is a stacked division.
Marc (Malden, MA)
What changed with Nate? He seemed to be the poster child for "stuck between 2 weight classes," now all of a sudden he can't be beat at 155.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:24 PM)
I asked him that very thing, and he said that he was fighting big names now, and that motivates him. He basically said that when people give him no shot, he thrives. And so far against Cerrone and Miller, both fights he was the underdog in, he has.
Radman (Baton Rouge)
Who is there that can possibly compete with King Mo in Bellator? Most people have no idea who their champion even is.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:25 PM)
Right now, nobody. If he were to fight Christian M'Pumbo, he'd beat him handily. But he won't fight until 2013, so maybe they'll fortify a little bit before then. Rampage maybe?
BJ Penn is coming back at some point. Any reason to think this next unretired version of BJ won't just be one and done?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:27 PM)
Not necessarily. I would say that if/when he fights again, it'll be because he is re-motivated. Motivation was at one point a strong knock on Penn. I think he'll look good in his first fight back, so long as they don't feed him to Rory MacDonald (which they won't).
You dig King Mo doing the split thing of pro wrestling and fighting? Outlaw/Duane Ludvig looking at being cut? Love watching both those guys fight, and hate when the situation is the loser gets axed.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:28 PM)
Confusing question, but I am fine with Mo doing the joint venture. It just makes for interesting airplane talk. "You cover MMA...isn't that wrestling?" No. It's different. Although there are guys like King Mo who toe the line between fiction and brutal literalness.
Scott (Salt Lake City)
Who do you think wins the Korean Zombie against Dustin Poirier fight?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:29 PM)
Going Poirier in that one. He's not going to get into a flat out brawl with the Zombie...he'll be methodical in how he handles his business.
What fight on the UFC on Fuel show next week are you looking forward to? And will you be in VA???
Chuck Mindenhall (4:30 PM)
I am sort of looking forward to the Igor Pokrajac/Fabio Maldonaldo fight. Just seems like combustion.
How is JDS not in everyone's Top 10 P4P? What hasn't he done to earn that?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:31 PM)
Is he not in some people's P4P? He should be. He's been incredible for a long time, and beaten some monsters. Wonder if he's an auto-bid if he smashes Mir?
Tyler (Mission Viejo)
Loving the chat, Chucky. Do you think Nate Diaz has earned a title shot? I think he still needs a title eliminator with Pettis
Chuck Mindenhall (4:33 PM)
It's always a tricky question. Earned is seldom the only piece to the matchmaking puzzle. In Diaz's case, he beat a couple of contender types in Cerrone and Miller. Neither guy was considered a No. 1 contender when he beat them, but that's quibbling. Bottom line is, he's looked good and he's a marketable fighter with an exciting style. (I still think he fights Pettis beforehand, though).
Marc (Malden, MA)
What round does Cerrone finish Stevens?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:34 PM)
How dare we treat this is a foregone conclusion? (Second round.)
Rich (Racine, WI)
So, is Josh Thomson injured or not? If not, Will Healy take a 5 round fight on a week notice? Is Gilbert Melendez going to kill himself? These questions, and many others, will be answered in the next episode of... Strikeforce. But really, what's going on with Thomson?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:35 PM)
I have heard the rumors of his PDL, but as far as I know the fight is still on. I saw that Healy said he'd jump in and fight Melendez if needed. So, I think there'll be a fight either way. I think.
whats next for rory macdonald? could they give him somebody like Koscheck?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:36 PM)
Koscheck's coming off that loss, so I doubt it. My guess is the winner of Ellenberger/Kampmann for MacDonald.
Any word on Shane Carwin? Seems like the heavyweight division could use him.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:37 PM)
I was told that he will be out until later in 2012, a possible return in November or December. Would be fun to have him (and those lunch pail hands) back in action.
Cam (Ventura, CA)
Do you feel Stann vs Lombard is a big enough main event to pull back Fox ratings? It doesn't do much for me buying a ticket.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:39 PM)
I think it's a big enough fight, but they may need to tab it a No. 1 contender's bout. Lombard was toiled in Bellator beating journeymen for the last couple of years, so he's only a big draw to diehards. His fight with Stann has to have some active stakes.
I heard you had an altercation of your own a few weeks ago. Messed up your eye pretty bad. What did the other guy look like? Will there be a rematch?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:39 PM)
Ha. This is fiction. Somebody has fed you a line.
Do you think its a good idea for diaz to wait for bendo-edgar? I personally think a number one contender bout with Pettis would be ideal for everyone and does not seem like nate would be too opposed to staying active like other fights coughconditcough
Chuck Mindenhall (4:41 PM)
I don't know if it's a good idea to wait. Nate's older brother has financial conundrums (where he's under and overpaid both), and I would suspect Nate will want to keep busy. Pettis makes a lot of sense. However, as of right this second Nate says he welcomes time off.
What up Chuck? Gun to your head, who ya got...Cerrone or Stephens???
Chuck Mindenhall (4:41 PM)
Cerrone. Even if it's a squirt gun.
Scott (Salt Lake City)
Are you going to be going to UFC 148?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:41 PM)
Not sure yet. I am hoping to.
Zach (St. Louis)
Chuck, finally MW is getting stacked! Stann, Belcher, Weidman, Bisping, Boetsch, Lombard, Belfort, Munoz. Maybe Anderson has his work cut out for him. After Silva/Sonnen fight. Who do you think is the next #1 contender?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:42 PM)
The 185-pound division has some added depth with the emergence of Belcher and the signing of Lombard. Silva won't like clean out the division before his 40th birthday.
Who's the bigger wrecking ball , Rory MacDonald or Jake Ellenberger?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:43 PM)
That's tough; they are both monsters. I would love to see them fight. Both guys dictate fights, so something would have to give.
Is Pat Berry done? Keep him around because he is a draw?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:45 PM)
Dana always throws out the Arturo Gatti analogy. He would lose, but people paid to watch him fight because he'd lose spectacularly. I think Barry is like that. Same with Dan Hardy. But they UFC can't hold onto them forever if they can't win. If Barry couldn't beat Lavar Johnson, who's he going to beat?
It didn't get much recognition, but how impressive was Alan Belcher last weekend? And where does the win stack him in the title picture?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:46 PM)
It was an eye-opener for sure. Going to the ground with a guy is the "most feared" muscle-jitz practitioner in the world and beating him the way he did? Good looking stuff. I think he's top ten, but he'll have to wait for some fights to play out to figure out who's next.
Scott (Salt Lake City)
What is next for Lavar Johnson?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:47 PM)
He'll be tuning into UFC 146. One of those guys will be his next opponent. I'd say the Shane del Rosa/Stipe Miocic winner.
honestly, did you realize belcher's tattoo was johnny cash when you first saw it?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:48 PM)
No. I thought it was Liberace. But now that I've seen it a few times, I see the more aged Cash shining through, with a slight sunburn.
Who you taking between Poirier/Jung? I have a feeling the Korean Zombie will steal the show like he did at UFC 140.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:49 PM)
Taking Poirier. Just don't think he'll overindulge Jung on the feet. He's too smart. But I still think it'll be an exciting fight.
How's it hanging Chuck! if cain and jds come out of their fights without injuries.... whats the earliest the fights takes place... would love to see cain fight injury free and without a 1 yr lay-off.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:51 PM)
I would guess the earliest would be in September. More likely October, though. Just depends on situation, and which card/venue needs a glossy headliner.
Billy (West Michigan)
So do you think Bonnar will finally get his wish and be given a fight with Rampage?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:52 PM)
Interesting idea. That would easily play into Rampage's wants, too -- a guy who will brawl with him instead of wrestling him like a sissy (his words). If Joe Silva were more of a masochist, he'd stack him up against Phil Davis.
As much as I hate to admit it, I thought Koscheck was robbed. He won rounds 1 and 3. Hate seeing judges get it wrong.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:53 PM)
That first round was pretty close. I had it for Hendricks live, but on second watching could see it for Koscheck. It was close enough that "robbery" is too strong a word. You know who agrees with you, though? Ricardo Almeida, the former fighter-turned judge who scored it exactly that way for Kos.
Marc (Chicago, IL)
Over/Under: MMA union by Jan 1, 2015?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:54 PM)
Curious Jorge (Washington)
With Jones defending his title at the beginning of September, you think he'll be able to fight again in 2012?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:56 PM)
He said he wanted to fight three times in 2012, and looks like should be able to unless he sustains an injury against Hendo. If he beats Henderson, that might set up Gustafsson (?) for December? Of course, the UFC is talking about a megacard for January, and you'd have to think Jones would discussed for that. So....depends.
So is MMA Live locked in now on Thursday nights? Did Franklin take your spot or will you still make apperances?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:57 PM)
It's on Thursday's most weeks, Fridays some. Franklin and I are rotating, him one week, me the next.
If Lombard beats Stann is he ahead of Belcher for a title shot?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:58 PM)
I would say yes. When asked in New Jersey if Lombard would be fast-tracked to a title if he beat Stann, his answer was leaning towards the affirmative.
tq st.francis sd [via mobile]
should jon jones fight lyoto instead of hendo? (i would watch a lyoto v jones 2, rather then hendo on his last run)
Chuck Mindenhall (4:59 PM)
I'd much rather see Hendo get his shot. I think he'll try A) discover things about Jones' ground game and B) try and land that right hand and send Jones to the ground solo. Either way, he'll make it a fun fight, even if he goes down swinging.
Casey (Norwich CT)
Does Brock ever come back for a rubber match with Mir?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:59 PM)
Can't foresee it. He's done with fighting.
I need to hit a parlay tonight to pay for my UFC 146 trip. Who should I take between Sandro/Strauss, and Marx/Galvao?
Chuck Mindenhall (5:00 PM)
You've come to the wrong place for gambling advice. However, take Strauss and Marx and throw in Petruzelli to make it worth your while.
Trust me, I'd love for Hendo to knock out Jones...but the logical part of me doubts how far into that fight he can hang. Look @ how bad he gassed vs. Shogun.
Chuck Mindenhall (5:02 PM)
He gassed in the later rounds of that fight, but it was after he tried to put him away for about five minutes straight. Not saying he won't gas against Jones, but he'll be in shape.
Rusty D (Denver)
Do you honestly think that Jones will let Hendo get anywhere close to getting inside on him? Or that Hendo is even a good enough wrestler to take Jones down? Hendo is too slow...and unless he can get inside he won't be able to throw the right or shoot for a takedown.
Chuck Mindenhall (5:03 PM)
Don't know if he can or can't, but I do know he'll go down trying. He's pretty crafty in landing that right. Hendo's never fought somebody with a wing span like that, though. It's a long shot.
Jeff (Salt Lake City)
Who's taking game 7, LA or Denver?
Chuck Mindenhall (5:04 PM)
Matt (Vista, CA)
Chuck, In your opinion, how is Benson Henderson doing in regards to building a legacy. On the one hand he has had some very exciting fights his last 5-6 times in the octagon, however at some point he will have to earn some finishes yes. Is this just a product of the lightweight division elite being extremely durable? Do you think he finishes Edgar in the rematch? Thank you sir!
Chuck Mindenhall (5:06 PM)
I think he's just now to the point where he'll begin building a legacy. To hear him tell it, he wants to shatter Anderson Silva's records. He hasn't finished as many guys, but I think he will as time goes on. Bendo's ascension has been fast, and he's obsessed with adding new tools.
what do you think the ceiling for guys like barnett and cormier will be in the ufc? would they be able to beat guys like cain and JDS?
Chuck Mindenhall (5:08 PM)
I think both guys could present problems to JDS, although Cigano has handled wrestlers very well thus far. Good thing is, I think we'll find out soon enough how Cormier and Barnett fare against the UFC's elite.
Jeremy B. (Utah)
How big of a threat is Poirier to Aldo? IMO, he's better than Koch. He's got size, reach, and has a very diverse offensive game with a good ground game too. Aldo has the speed advantage and much more experience. If they fought today Aldo wins yet if they fought in 2 years I think Poirier would take the belt.
Chuck Mindenhall (5:10 PM)
I think Poirier is a threat to Aldo, but that he senses the same thing you do...that it may be down the line a bit. He's a realist, so he doesn't pound his chest and proclaim himself the best in the world. The thing is, he's better and better every time we see him. If Aldo/Poirier fight next year, that'll be a clash.
Chuck Mindenhall (5:11 PM)
OK guys, I have to close this thing down. Thanks a lot for stopping in for the Friday Chat. Enjoy the fights tonight and on Tuesday from Fairfax. If I didn't get to your question, hit the twitter feed: @chuckmindenhall.