Chat with Brett Okamoto
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com mixed martial arts writer Brett Okamoto stops by to chat about the news from the octagon.
Okamoto joined ESPN.com in December 2010. Previously, he was the boxing/MMA writer for the Las Vegas Sun newspaper and has also worked with Sports Illustrated magazine and CNN.com.
Send your questions now and join Okamoto Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Brett Okamoto (1:04 PM)
Home stretch here. The second half of fights looked terrific on paper and so far they've really produced. Kind of crazy actually. Pettis taking the belt was sort of quick, but big. The Jones/Gustafsson fight was waaaay better than really any of us expected. Cain stepping up as THE dominant heavyweight of that division. Alvarez/Chandler II didn't disappoint. The boxing match I got to see in Vegas between Manuel Marquez and Bradley was terrific. Just awesome. And some big ones still to go. I'll get to your questions now.
ei brett, quick question, if Travis Browne wins against Barnett, will we see a Hapa Vs. JDS? and whats your take on that
Brett Okamoto (1:06 PM)
Probably not, because UFC doesn't like to do winner vs. loser in general. Plus, if JDS were to beat Browne, then you wasted Browne's contendership appeal, for what? JDS isn't fighting for the title any time soon. If they were to fight though, I still like JDS. He's looked terrible against Cain, but pretty great against anyone else.
Man brett, todays card is sneaky good. Im excited. Also does Manuwa have any shot against Gus?
Brett Okamoto (1:08 PM)
Yeah? I'll be honest, the card tonight doesn't excite me all that much. I will tell you, the atmosphere at those cards is unlike any UFC event. I got to attend the last one ... forget who fought, somebody help me out? Guillard knocked out Dunham, Pat Barry fought. Mitrione. Can't remember main event. Was it Guillard? Anyway, great event. In an airplane hanger. Troops that get to see the card are so enthusiastic. Does Manuwa have a chance against Gus? I would say a very small one. Gus should win that.
James (Tokyo (JPN) )
Hey Brett, any idea how BJ's weight cut is going and what he currently weighs? On that have you ever heard of a fighter going 2 divisions DOWN?
Brett Okamoto (1:09 PM)
I have not personally seen BJ, but I've spoke to a few people that have been around him and they say he looks great. And that was in the gym setting. Other people have seen him at gym openings or promotional stuff, whatever, said he looked good. I actually think he just tweeted a photo of his TUF team and I want to say he looked pretty lean. I mean, bottom line is he's got plenty of time still to cut that weight, but you hope he's already in good shape to make it easier.
Brett, I had Bellator 106 as a huge letdown, first and foremost the fights leading up to the Chandler-Alvarez fight were lackluster at best. Second, I had King Mo and Chandler winning 3-2 (Chandler 4-1 but a friend convinced me to make it 3-2 to be fair before the scores were announced). What's up with the judging?
Brett Okamoto (1:11 PM)
I need to watch Alvarez/Chandler again. I thought watching the first time you could have actually made a case for Chandler winning Round 4 by a 10-8 score, but I haven't really seen anyone agreeing with me so I want to watch again. Josh Gross actually scored the King Mo fight for Mo as well, 3-2 ... that I definitely didn't see. I thought Mo only won the first round and was pretty much just a sparring partner (and not even a good one) from rounds 2 on.
Apparently Roy Jones is in training to fight Anderson (boxing). Will this happen and how do you see Andersons mind / long term contract given this and Lyoto's comment.
Brett Okamoto (1:15 PM)
Tough to say what's in Anderson's mind. He signed a long deal. I know it doesn't mean he has to finish it, but I would assume there is at least part of him that believed he'd finish it when he signed it. And if he wanted to box professionally, in a ring, which is what Roy Jones Jr. wants, why sign such a long deal with the UFC? If that fight happens, you know Zuffa/UFC will want the profits from it, so they would promote it, but how? It's not an MMA fight. Jones just signed up to box on Dec. 4. Who knows how he'll look? Basically this is a long way of saying, I don't think it will happen, nor do I have any interest in seeing it happen. Anderson lost one fight, you could argue he's still at the top of his game. Jones Jr. is 45 and hasn't fought in a year.
James (Albany )
Buy or sell - Dan Henderson will beat Vitor and continue to fight in the UFC? I got Hendo on points knowing how Vitor gases but unsure he's almost relevant in LHW now although he should be a HOF'r.
Brett Okamoto (1:17 PM)
Sell. I think Dan Henderson gets knocked out for the first time in his career. We'll see what happens in his negotiations. He will have lost three in a row in that scenario and who knows what the UFC will offer him? He's split before. Not sure what Bellator's interest would be in him. WSOF is actually dropping money left and right but I kinda don't see that being the right fit for Hendo. If I had to guess I think he'll eventually resign with the UFC ... but we'll have to see how the fight goes. He says retirement is not on his mind at all.
Alex Peer Des Moines IA [via mobile]
Machida Belfort needs to happen it would be a fun fight to watch. Mousasi Machida will be good too. And do you think any of the Brazilian fighters will listen to Chael or respect him as a coach?
Brett Okamoto (1:18 PM)
100 percent they will. Chael in front of the cameras is different than Chael not in front of the cameras. His fighters loved him during the US season. He's invested. The Brazilian prospects will want to learn from him and win their fights just like any other season. I agree, Machida/Belfort is an awesome, awesome fight you just want to see, regardless of what's on the line.
can you guestimate on when we should expect cain vs werdum to take place??
Brett Okamoto (1:19 PM)
I could see it headlining the Feb. 22 in Las Vegas, but I haven't heard that. Just speculation on my part.
m.chandler signed an 8 fight contract with bellator. so what happens after his trilogy w alvarez is over. does he go back and start smoking guys in under 2 minutes while bjorn sreams he the best in the world?
Brett Okamoto (1:21 PM)
..... I guess? That's the ongoing challenge for Bellator. Develop new prospects of their own. Ultimately, that's the hope of their business model. Use guys like Rampage/Tito to promote their homegrown talent like Alvarez/Chandler, who will in turn, promote more homegrowns. Problem is, even in their tournaments they're not finding a ton of exciting new prospects.
It seems like Nick Diaz is enjoying some time away from the cage, but you have to assume he's not actually retired and will return eventually. He has to know he's not getting St-Pierre or Silva upon return. Do you think the UFC would offer him the winner of Condit/Brown or possibly MacDonald if he defeats Lawler? Diaz would take one of those fights right? I mean he's not getting better than that.
Brett Okamoto (1:23 PM)
Last thing I heard about Nick in regards to a return? He doesn't talk about it at all. That was a couple weeks ago ... maybe it's changed? Every time I hear something about Nick it's that he's not thinking about fighting. Now, as far as things that could literally change in an instant, that's one of them. Nick could not want to fight right now, but by dinner time, he might. The UFC is going to offer him attractive opponents, but what can they really do right now? His name keeps popping up in Dana scrums and chat rooms like this. The ball is in his court. When he wants to return, they will give him a good fight.
Cameron (Auckland (NZ) )
Hey Bro, Have you got a preference / inkling whether Pettis / Aldo will happen at LW or FW...especially given that the winner potentially becomes a 2 division champ? How would Pettis and Aldo match up?
Brett Okamoto (1:24 PM)
I feel like I get asked this one a lot. Definitely at 155 pounds as long as Pettis is the lightweight champ. How do they stack up? I mean, it's a great, great matchup. I give a slight edge to Aldo, but athletically, they compliment each other real well.
Marc Iveson (UK)
Sup B-man! (thats right B-man!) Loving the Gus vs Manuwa fight way more that Gus vs Lil Nog - Bit of a left field question but what fight do you think will produce upset of the year? If Weidman does it again is that still an upset?
Brett Okamoto (1:25 PM)
No. I think Silva is a slight favorite in that fight. Johny Hendricks is a +190 underdog and you all know how I feel about that one ... upset of the year? Probably not. But an upset? Have you guys seen the photos of him lately? Johny is looking lean, like he's in phenomenal, GSP-beating shape ...
I know you can't be pleased w/ the nuggets start, what gives?? What's next for Vitor if he beats Hendo? And any word on what's next for Lombard??
Brett Okamoto (1:27 PM)
Oh man, they are terrible. Trying to learn a completely new, half-court offense and they're down two of their better scorers, Chandler and Galinari. It's ugly right now. Ty Lawson trying to do everything on his own. Sad. Dana admitted Vitor is the No. 1 contender at 185. I actually think he does get a title shot if he beats Hendo this time. And Lombard, I kinda like the idea of him fighting Adlan Amagov.
Who did you score the fight for Alvarez-Chandler 2? How do you think the third fight will play out?
Brett Okamoto (1:29 PM)
I scored the fight for Chandler live, but like I said, want to go back and rewatch it. I think Chandler is probably favored in the rematch. His problem is he's constantly moving forward with no head movement, he reaches, he loads up too much sometimes. He got counter punched to death. And when he decided alright, time to switch gears, I need to take this fight down, he telegraphed his shot, didn't set it up. It basically comes down to, he's 27 and still a little raw. He has plenty of room to grow. If he grows from this loss, I think he beats Alvarez in No. 3.
Alfonso (Temecula, CA)
Is this the end of the King Mo era? This guy is awful Brett and deep down inside you know that. Taste the Rockies and bring some truth back into the world.
Brett Okamoto (1:31 PM)
Yeah, I mean watching him fight Newton I got the impression of, this guy just doesn't look extremely healthy to me. I wouldn't be surprised AT ALL if you told me he's got some knee issues going on. He didn't look like he was in terribly in shape. I don't know if we were ever really in a "King Mo era," but if we were, yeah it's over.
Down and out with Rousey (Low down , USA)
Brett.. Rousey persona on ultimate fighter is killing her. Not likeable at all. Anyway, any chance Tate beats Rousey in 2nd go around?
Brett Okamoto (1:33 PM)
Definitely a chance. Tate had her moments in the grappling exchanges in the first fight. She'll be more prepared for what's coming in the rematch. It will be familiar. She'll probably actually be more confident going into the second fight than the first, even though she lost. Ronda has had a real busy schedule. Ultimately, Ronda's athleticism is way better than Tate's, so I still give her the edge, but Tate has a real chance. For sure.
Brett Okamoto (1:34 PM)
To beat Ronda, you're going to have to outgrapple her. That's a fact. I don't think anyone in that division is skilled enough to pop her in a stick and move situation and never have to grapple. Even Cyborg would have to counter grapple with her and scramble, you know? So, for someone to have a chance they have to be a strong grappler and Tate is that.
WHAT WAS BJORN SHAKING HIS HEAD ABOUT??
Brett Okamoto (1:35 PM)
Could be nothing. Could be everything. Could be he didn't agree with the decision. Could be he hates Eddie Alvarez and didn't want to put the belt around his waist. I mean, he fought to keep Eddie in that promotion though, and he had to know this was at least a moderately likely possibility, that Alvarez would beat Chandler. So, I don't know. I'm not making a huge deal about this head shake like some others have.
What is your take on the womens fights tonight? Who do you have and when do you think that a non Rousey WMMA fight will land on the UFC PPV portion?
Brett Okamoto (1:37 PM)
I think Liz wins. Davis is really, really tough, I'm not sure Liz puts her away, but her standup is sloppy at times and I don't think she'll be able to put Liz on the ground with any consistency. A non-Rousey WMMA fight on PPV? Still a year away from that probably.
Chilly Water (OKC)
Hey motto, thanks for the weekly chats. They make the time fly on Wednesdays. So what do you think GSP has planned other not fighting Rory any time soon?
Brett Okamoto (1:40 PM)
If it's not Rory, I really don't know. Him taking any fight at middleweight other than a title fight makes absolutely no sense. If he beats Hendricks, he's only one title defense away from tying Silva's record of 10 consecutive title defenses ... so you'd think he'd want that but Rory is really the only obvious No. 1 contender if he beats Lawler.
EA (Cali) [via mobile]
Hi Brett! If Carmouche defeats and/or finishes Davis at UFN 31, should she jump ahead of Zingano for a title match against the Rousey/Tate winner?
Brett Okamoto (1:40 PM)
Absolutely not. Zingano earned it. She's a stud and Liz already fought Ronda, there would be very little interest in that rematch.
What does a win--or even a spectacular win--mean for Hendo? Dana made it clear what this fight means to Vitor but I'm not sure where Dan lands with a big win.
Brett Okamoto (1:43 PM)
Back in the 205-pound title picture. He knocks out Vitor, all of a sudden it's like, well hey, he lost back to back but they were split decisions, we can forgive him for that. Changes the whole perception on him. They sign him a fight with either DC or Phil Davis and he wins that one? Right back into title contention.
does anyone know exactly how long is e.alvarez contract w bellator?
Brett Okamoto (1:44 PM)
Not positive on that but the original deal offered by the UFC, I believe was an 8-fight deal. Bellator matched that, then they went to court.
Brett, your thoughts on the "karma" drama between Bjorn and Dana? Good comeback by Bjorn.
Brett Okamoto (1:46 PM)
Ehhhh. Maybe. I don't mind Bjorn coming back at Dana, in fact most would argue that he should, it's good publicity ... but I mean, his argument is kind of hard to really get behind. He should have done something more clever like, right when Dana tweeted it to him, I would have done something like, "Thanks for watching the card Diana, er Dana, we appreciate the support."
@ba2rymusic (High Point, NC)
I agree Brett. Not too stoked about tonight's card. Very much looking forward to GSP-Hendricks card. Pretty deep card. Any sneaky good fights to watch for on that one?
Brett Okamoto (1:48 PM)
Timothy Elliott. Timothy Elliott. Timothy Elliott. He is the "sneaky good fight" to watch on any event he's in right now. Love watching that guy. Ebersole vs. Story could produce a real exciting fight, too.
Chandler's left eye was a travesty. That fight shouldn've been stopped. Seriously. You can't have that on network TV.
Brett Okamoto (1:48 PM)
If you're going to have MMA on cable TV, (don't think Spike qualifies as Network TV) you've got to show it. The fight shouldn't have been stopped, you can't allow the fact it's on a high profile free fight card to influence that.
Has MMA eclipsed boxing in terms of popularity? PPV buys would indicate no, but seems as though MMA is talked about more. Will MMA pass boxing in the not too distant future?
Brett Okamoto (1:50 PM)
I think it will stay the way it is for awhile, with boxing the overall more popular sport but UFC fans being more dedicated to it on a day-to-day basis. Boxing, at least in my opinion, is in some trouble right now though. When Mayweather and Pacquiao retire, who takes the torch? Adrien Broner? Amir Khan? Timothy Bradley?
I won't fight you on GSP/Hendricks this week. I know the result you predict, but can you break it down more? How will the rounds go and when will the finish come? Who will be winning on the scorecards when the big left lands?
Brett Okamoto (1:51 PM)
Slow start to the fight. Booing. Hendricks makes a few rushes, GSP circles away and blocks the shots. Resets. Jab is landing for GSP. GSP throws some kicks that don't land. They tie up in a clinch, nothing much happens, maybe an elbow from Johny on the break. But sometime in the first or second round, Johny connects, GSP is wobbled. We'll see how he responds. If the fight goes to the fourth and fifth and that sequence hasn't happened yet where Johny has taken some of the life from Georges, I will start to worry about my prediction.
Do you think Rashad goes down to 185 if he loses to Chael (which I actually see happening, how about you)?
Brett Okamoto (1:53 PM)
No and ... probably not. I like Rashad in the fight, but Chael is capable of winning it. If he does, I still don't see Rashad going to 185. The weight cut is too difficult. 205 is more open, even with a loss Rashad wouldn't be completely out of it. At 185, he'd be just another name really with the way that division looks right now.
Zach (St. Louis)
TGIW. Brett do you watch sons of anarchy?
Brett Okamoto (1:54 PM)
I don't. Feel like I should. The shows I haven't watched but feel like I probably should are Sons of Anarchy, Games of Thrones and Walking Dead.
Ya know, Brett. I feel like our relationship is so close to blossoming into something transcendent. Yet you play these "hard to get" games with my questions..... why won't you open up to me?!?!?!
Brett Okamoto (1:54 PM)
Always leave them wanting more. Rule #1.
Can't believe royce gracie is trying so hard to come back... would there be anybody you'd be interested in seeing him fight in his comeback if he ever does get to fight?
Brett Okamoto (1:54 PM)
No. Thank you for everything that you did. You are a legend of the sport. Enjoy your retirement.
Vitor and Hendo...what happens?
Brett Okamoto (1:55 PM)
Vitor knockout by the end of round 3. Too fast.
What happens to Dan hendersons legacy if he loses to Vitor ?
Brett Okamoto (1:56 PM)
I think it's still pretty much intact. Look at Chuck Liddell. He went 1-5 to finish his career and he's still considered one of the best ever in UFC. You judge a guy more on his prime years than you do his exit years.
Zach (St. Louis)
If you were the president of the UFC what would be the first order of business?
Brett Okamoto (1:58 PM)
Honestly, this is a terrible answer, but I'd pretty much do things the way they've been doing them. They're making a lot of money on this UFC thing, I wouldn't really make a ton of changes to it. One major difference I've noticed about boxing compared to UFC, celebrities. If I were Dana, I would do everything I could to use my popularity to bring in some more celebs man. People see celebs in the crowd and they think, this must be major. UFC has pulled a pretty weak celebs list over the last three years.
Ian (Santa Cruz)
Before the Gusty fight I thought Cormier had a solid shot to beat Johnny Bones, but now I almost feel like he would have to be a slight favorite if he can make it down to 205 comfortably. I'm starting to worry a bit about Bones' GOAT candidacy, what say you?
Brett Okamoto (2:00 PM)
Seriously? You're worried because he had one tough fight but ultimately prevailed? DC, with all due respect, has not looked like a giant killer against Frank Mir or Roy Nelson ... what has he done so convincingly that would make him a favorite over Jones? Take a deep breath Ian, you're jumping the gun on this one.
Where do you think the masvidal-khabilov winner goes from here? Feels like whoever wins will be a dark horse contender and should get a top-10 guy
Brett Okamoto (2:01 PM)
I agree, especially if it's Khabilov.
Since heavywight is so thin right now, do you think Dana is putting any pressure on Cormier and Cain to fight?
Brett Okamoto (2:02 PM)
No, because 205 is pretty thin too and a DC/Jones fight is appealing. Right now, Jones is a better seller than Velasquez and the UFC has three fights for him. Glover, DC, Gustafsson. Nothing wrong with allowing Velasquez to stomp on the rest of the division and eventually set up a Jones/Velasquez fight.
Do you think that a Thiago Silva Dan Henderson fight would be option for there next fights ?
Brett Okamoto (2:03 PM)
Bleh, I guess. Thiago Silva. Bleh.
Andy [via mobile]
I like hedo vs dc. That would be cool.
Brett Okamoto (2:03 PM)
It would be cool.
Bojangles (Longmont, CO)
Hey Brett. When was that first "i made it" moment you had as a UFC journalist?
Brett Okamoto (2:06 PM)
As a UFC journalist? .... Honestly, I never really had a moment like that with the UFC. I'll be honest, I never aspired to be specifically a UFC journalist. I wanted to be a sports journalist in general and I happened to move to Las Vegas and start covering it. Fell in love with it over time. So, it's not like I was a fan and then got into it and was like, wow, I can't believe I'm around all this. But to try and answer your question ... some of the coolest moments I've had, or most surreal moments I guess, were things like interviewing Brock Lesnar one-on-one when he was the champ behind the scenes, still any time I see Dana White text me or call me or things like that it's like wow I have a cool job ... on the boxing side getting to be around Mayweather and Pacquiao and seeing Oscar De La Hoya's final fight ... those kinds of things are just priceless.
I watch fights with father Bellator. he says this boxing at its best in cage. I think Chadler-Alvarez II was best fights of the year. You?
Brett Okamoto (2:07 PM)
I would say Jones/Gustafsson was best of the year but Chandler/Alvarez is right up there.
Who loses first: Cain or Bones?
Brett Okamoto (2:08 PM)
Tough question .................. real tough. If I were to put money on it, I guess I'd take Bones. He's got the tougher schedule ahead.
How telling is it that Kennedy is fighting Natal tonight in the main event and no one has mentioned it yet? Worst main event in UFC history?
Brett Okamoto (2:09 PM)
Pretty bad. Like I've mentioned, this will be a good fight to be at live. Not a great lineup for TV fights.
Kerry Hope (West By God Virginia)
Who is your all-time favorite broadcaster in the history of MMA as a sport?
Brett Okamoto (2:10 PM)
I would have to go with the obvious answer of Joe Rogan. He really is extremely knowledgeable, he's passionate, he's funny. He gets caught up in making a point sometimes and it's like, OOOOKKKK Joe, but every announcer is guilty of that from time to time. I think he does a phenomenal job.
Jake (Saint Paul)
Brett over or under on how many times Rustam suplexs Jorge..... at 3.
Brett Okamoto (2:11 PM)
We're only talking specifically suplex? I'd have to go under. He has other ways of taking guys down and who knows? One suplex and Jorge could be done for the night.
Jake (Saint Paul)
Vitor. TRT. Brazil. Broken Record. Ugh. Every time it happens I lose more respect for the UFC... seriously either cut him off the "therapy" or make him fight somewhere else.
Brett Okamoto (2:13 PM)
I was encouraged to hear that the Brazilian commission has tested Dan "every two weeks." What I'd like to know is how scheduled were they? Were they literally every other Monday, at 11 a.m.? Were they random? Ultimately though, the fact they tested Dan that much is a very positive thing if they're going to be giving exemptions. The problem with Vitor is most people don't think he deserves an exemption to begin with because he was busted for steroids the first time he fought Hendo.
When fights go without the winner getting even moderately hurt (think Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin), how soon do you think that winner can fight again? What I'm getting at is I think some fighters should fight more often, especially the big-name ones without a scratch
Brett Okamoto (2:14 PM)
Yeah, but you gotta remember what fighters always say. The actual fight isn't the work. The training camp is the work. So on one hand, yeah, you're healthy, you had to fight a total of 45 seconds and you knocked this guy out, get back in there. On the other hand, these guys neglect their families during training camp, they cut weight, they might not even be 100 percent healthy when they enter the fight in the first place ... so there are still reasons to take a breather.
Brett, really enjoyed seeing Lawlor so focused, sharp and in great shape his last few outings. Do you give him much shot against Rory? I still think Lawlor/Ellenberger would be a great match up.......
Brett Okamoto (2:16 PM)
I give him a shot. Rory, to me, has shown he's got a chin. He's never really been blasted, like a Hendricks left to the chin blasted, but I've seen him eat punches. He's more technical than Robbie is, but a focused Lawler is good enough to beat anyone. I think Rory keeps it on the outside with kicks, but if Lawler can time one of those and counter with his punches he could definitely put Rory down.
I know you get press passes and all, but from what you know is the UFC VIP package worth it? Thinking about taking the plunge for the Newark card.
Brett Okamoto (2:16 PM)
I honestly don't even know what's in the UFC VIP package ... what do you get? How much is it?
What did you think of the UFC Doc? I thought it was good but seemed to miss a lot of improtant stuff. They could have done a lot more on Brock and the amount of $ he brought in. Seemed to much like a promo for Fox towards the end as well.
Brett Okamoto (2:17 PM)
First half was terrific, second half felt like a stereotypical UFC commercial, just a really long one. Overall, I would suggest it to people though. The first half was that good.
Is Bellator ever going to be a serious contender to the UFC? Bellator has some good talent and tough fighters in the ligher weight classes. But from heavyweight up it seems like there is underwhelming talent and over the hill fighters like Ortiz and Babalu. Whats your take?
Brett Okamoto (2:18 PM)
"Ever" is such a long, long time. I can't say it can never, ever happen. But it's not a close fight at all right now.
Bjorn's brother (Bjork)
Which statement is more true: On Saturday, we saw the very best of Bellator and what the promotion has to offer. On Saturday, we saw Bellator bluff a great opportunity, proving its status as minor league.
Brett Okamoto (2:20 PM)
Both? I mean if you compare it to UFC, then you're going to be disappointed. If you go in only thinking, I want to see some good fights between some good fighters in a show that's well produced ... well then, it's not too bad. It's an acceptable product, but the truth is, it's always going to be compared to the UFC. And in that sense, did they give fans a reason to think, hey, Bellator is pretty awesome, I absolutely 100 percent need to be paying as much attention to this as I am the UFC, then no they didn't do that.
What are the five best parts of your job in terms of fun things you get to do and where does this chat rank?
Brett Okamoto (2:22 PM)
Clearly, this chat is No. 1. After that ... getting to watch the fights live from cageside is the best part. Hands down. Having one of the best seats in the house every night, you can't beat that. Another great part is getting to feel like you know these guys, you meet their wives in the back, you talk to their corners, these are human beings. So when they win and you see the emotion, you know what's behind it ... just makes watching it more enjoyable. I enjoy the travel part of it, I get to see cities I might have never visited on my own. But ultimately, yeah, it all comes down to this chat. If I didn't have the chat then I would have nothing.
Tim (Brighton, MA)
Hey Brett, Early thoughts on how Barao Cruz goes down?
Brett Okamoto (2:24 PM)
All eyes are going to be on Cruz. Any video that comes out of him in the gym, his open workout in front of fans and then, most importantly, those first moments of the fight. How does he look? How is he moving? If he's moving like the old Cruz, then I think we all sort of forget pretty quickly about the layoff and our mind turns to, alright, who is the better man? Barao has the kicks, Cruz has the boxing. Cruz's American wrestling style against Barao's physical, submission game. It's an awesome matchup.
Rocky Mountain Oysters (Lyons, CO)
Have any good micro brews lately, Bruh?
Brett Okamoto (2:25 PM)
You know I'm gonna be a New Belgium guy, being from Fort Collins. I tried the new seasonal last weekend, Accumulation. Very solid. Mighty Arrow is still my favorite from them, though.
Great Bungholio (Highland)
You mentioned you were assigned MMA and fell in love with it. Was there a particular fight were you thinking, "Wow, this is amazing. I want to do MMA full-time"?
Brett Okamoto (2:27 PM)
I don't think so, it was more gradual. When I started covering UFC for the Las Vegas newspaper, I was doing a ton of other assignments, too. The first card I ever traveled for was UFC 101 in Philadelphia. When I saw Anderson toy with Forrest and knock him out with a jab, MOVING BACKWARDS, I was like, well ... that's one of the craziest, most impressive things I've ever seen.
J all Day (KC, MO)
What's the Ceiling for James Krause? He's been a wrecking machine before signing with UFC.
Brett Okamoto (2:29 PM)
I think this fight against Bobby Green will answer some of that. I like Krause a lot ... he fought insanely tough competition in the WEC and he seems to have improved quite a bit since then.
DC has to win at least ? fights at 205 before he gets a title shot? Like you said, the guy hasn't been impressive in his last three, at least....
Brett Okamoto (2:29 PM)
Still, only 1. He has to win one fight to get a title shot. And if things get weird and circumstances chance, maybe not even that many.
Sara (Sarasota, FL)
I am a longtime fan of women's MMA and really think that Tate against Carmouche would be a HECK of a fight of the year. HOw close are we to seeing it if things fall a certain way? How do you make that fight?
Brett Okamoto (2:30 PM)
You said the important part, if things fall a certain way. I don't think we're ever THAT far away from it because they are two of the bigger names in a division that currently doesn't have a ton of depth. I would give the advantage to Tate, she's so aggressive and I think she'd force Liz to fight off her back at times, but Liz looked so on point in her last performance. Close fight to call.
No surprise, I am picking Rashad.
Brett Okamoto (2:31 PM)
Hahaha. Franklin doesn't even know who Rashad is fighting. He heard Rashad was on the card and wrote down his prediction immediately.
Andy [via mobile]
Not sure if u said earlier but cain werdum is in Mexico city April 19or 26
Brett Okamoto (2:32 PM)
It is, and yes I completely forgot about Mexico. That's been in the rumor mill, looks like it was just made official today.
How do you think alvarez and chandler would do in ufc?
Brett Okamoto (2:33 PM)
Fine. I don't think either would hold the belt, but they'd be winning their share of fights.
No joke, I thought Hendricks looked bloated/muscle bound during the Primetime piece. Surprised to hear you thought he looked lean. Not saying he isn't in great shape but to me he very thick.
Brett Okamoto (2:34 PM)
Really? The photos I've seen of him on Twitter, he's looked lean to me. His nutritionist Mike Dolce told me last week he weighed 190 pounds. Previous fights he had weighed 198 at that point in his camp. He's training for a five round fight so you expect him to be ahead of schedule.
Timmy O (NYC)
If you got offered a chance to sit in row 30 of Mayweather-Pacquiao or row 1 of GSP-Silva, which would you pick?
Brett Okamoto (2:35 PM)
Well, there's not a HUUUUGE difference really between row 1 and row 30. There is, but not really, at least to me personally. But I would say had you said, row 1 for Silva/GSP or third section for Mayweather/Pacquiao, I'm still picking Mayweather/Pacquiao.
Since Dana, didn't give D.C. the Gustaffson fight because it would have been his debut at 205, who do you think his debut will be against..Evans..I would love to see a wrestling clinic against Phil Davis
Brett Okamoto (2:36 PM)
Yeah, Davis is a possibility. I would say Lil Nog but he already pulled out of a fight that's not for another three months, so who knows how long he'll be on the shelf?
Brett, I'm sorry I missed the most of the chat. I was at Trader Joe's buying some hummus when I realized it was time for your chat. I left the store with the hummus and didn't pay!!! Go Hendo!
Brett Okamoto (2:38 PM)
If you're going to have an excuse for missing the chat, I guess this one is pretty strong.
Chuck's hat (NYC)
You think this guy Sensei Seagal could be a real player in MMA or is his teaching relationship with Silva more ceremonial?
Brett Okamoto (2:38 PM)
I don't think this is a serious question ... at least I hope it's not.
Brett, you mentioned if GSP beats Hendricks and Rory beats Lawler that Rory is the only true # 1 contender. I think if Rory has another strategic fight like Ellenberger and if Matt bROWN beats Condit. I would think the UFC should have Brown leapfrog Rory. What are your thoughts on this scenario?
Brett Okamoto (2:40 PM)
It's possible. People are starting to really like Matt Brown. Beating Condit is going to be a very difficult task ... if he manages to do it I'm fine seeing him get the opportunity. Condit is the 4th best fighter in that division in my opinion.
Any good news on T.J. Grant?
Brett Okamoto (2:40 PM)
Zero news. He's been told to not rush anything. The injury was very serious. Stay out of the gym until you are 100 percent that you're 100 percent.
I appreciate your answer and that does make sense. Can you tell me do any fighters treat their training similar to a 9-5 job, where they finish up and go home to their families each night?
Brett Okamoto (2:41 PM)
I mean, they do go home to their families. It's not like they rent a second house so they can be on their own, unless they don't live where they train. But even if they go home, they're beat up, they're exhausted, they have to get up the next day and do it again, they can't eat what they want to eat for the most part, they have to do media obligations for the fight.
I know people say competition is good for business, but in MMA's case, is it better for UFC to be the dominant company & avoid a messy alphabet soup problem like boxing has?
Brett Okamoto (2:42 PM)
They've basically already avoided that problem. Bellator has some good fighters, but 97 percent of the best fighters in the world compete for UFC. That's far different from boxing.
It seems you're leaning GSP has no chance and should just hand it over? JH give you some deer jerky or something?
Brett Okamoto (2:44 PM)
Absolutely not. Can't a guy just make a prediction without everyone thinking he's like 100 percent, betting his house on it? I like Hendricks' power, his athleticism, his ability to land a big punch on GSP and GSP not to recover. If GSP takes him to fourth and fifth rounds, that clearly favors GSP. He's been there a million times before, Johny hasn't. If Johny gets frustrated even a little and starts reaching, GSP will counter punch him and take him down. It's an incredibly hard fight for Hendricks to win, of course I'm acknowledging that.
Sol Rosenberg (Upstate)
I'll bring all my shoes and my glasses. So I have them.
Brett Okamoto (2:45 PM)
Weirdest comment ever in a chat. There it is. I have no idea what this means. Thank you though.
Socrates (San Dimas, CA)
What are your three favorite albums from the 90s? If you don't say OK Computer than you don't have a crumb left inside your lonely soul.
Brett Okamoto (2:46 PM)
I was 5 when the 90s began. I really can't remember what I was listening to. I do have OK Computer on my iTunes though right now, though.
Man you love boxing, Brettoberfest. I always pegged you more of a tennis guy as a secondary sport. YOu look like one of those only childs who grew up excelling in individual endeavors. It's a fact, not an insult. You can use it to paint your ego or tarnish it, but my good will is the same.
Brett Okamoto (2:47 PM)
Hahaha, I will take no offense but you misjudged me. I was a team sports man all the way. Baseball and soccer were my top choices.
Brett Okamoto (2:48 PM)
That seems like a good way to end it. Great chat, thanks for joining me as always. Enjoy the fights tonight and this weekend. We've got a lot of UFC 20th anniversary stuff rolling out next week and more importantly, we'll have everything you need to know about GSP vs. Hendricks. Can't wait for that fight. See you next week.