Welcome to the first Pep Talk Q&A, available exclusively on Fightmagazine.com. We’ll be doing this each week, so send your questions to Peptalk@ProMMARadio.com and take your shot at winning a very cool FIGHT! T-shirt, so keep ‘em coming. And yes, you can send in as many questions as you want and can enter every week. And remember to tune into Pro MMA Radio every Monday night.
Let’s get started.
Chael, Anderson and Ed Soares
I heard that Anderson Silva’s manager Ed Soares said that Chael Sonnen should have to fight Demian Maia to determine who gets the title shot, but I thought that Dana White already said that Sonnen gets it. What gives?
(Props to Notesfromringside.)
Let’s break this down into a few parts. First, Ed Soares is one of the most powerful managers in MMA with a roster that includes champions Anderson, Lyoto Machida and Jose Aldo as well as the Nogueira brothers. With that lineup, he has a certain degree of influence.
And before we jump the gun, let’s not forget that Anderson has to beat Vitor Belfort at UFC 112 in April for any of this to be relevant. If not, Chael will be fighting Vitor for the belt. For purposes of your question, Blair, let’s assume that Anderson wins that fight, which I think he will.
Unfortunately, when it comes to determining contenders, we’ve heard this song before. It’s no secret that Dan Henderson was promised a rematch with Anderson after he knocked Michael Bisping into next week at UFC 100. Ed came out and said that he felt that Dan should have to fight Nate Marquardt to determine the number one contender. The fight was heavily rumored but didn’t happen when Dan left for Strikeforce.
Now to be fair, in the present situation Soares said that Anderson would fight Chael “if that’s what the UFC wants”, but that he thought Sonnen and Maia should fight for the next shot. I think it would be a HUGE mistake for the UFC to accommodate that. Ed is a manager, Joe Silva and Dana White determine the fights. Dana publicly stated at the pre-fight presser that the winner of Marquardt/Sonnen got the next shot and confirmed afterward that Chael was next in line. That should be the end of the story. It’s one thing that the UFC hasn’t really forced the teammate issue of a superfight between Anderson and Lyoto. And given that Anderson had beaten both Dan and Nate, there’s at least an argument (which I don’t buy) that they should have met to get another shot at Anderson.
However, there is no rationale whatsoever to deny a guy who ran through two top five contenders without losing a round who’s never had a shot at the belt. Anderson’s camp didn’t feel that Thales Leites or Patrick Cote were undeserving. Their paths to their title shots? Leites beat Ryan Jensen, Marquardt and Drew McFedries while Cote beat Kendall Grove, McFedries and Ricardo Almeida in his last three fights before losing to Anderson. Chael proved a lot more in beating Dan Miller, Yushin Okami and Nate without dropping a round.
Add in that Chael will do a tremendous job promoting the fight and he should be next in line, just as Dana said he is.
Pep, do you think Anderson is trying to duck Chael or is too much of mismatch?
I don’t believe that Anderson is ducking Chael. He’s the best in the world at what he does, but styles make fights. That’s why I don’t think it’s a mismatch at all.
Chael has the one style that I believe can give the pound for pound king trouble. Great wrestling, high-level takedowns, suffocating ground control and a gas tank combined with the fact that he’s too smart and focused to try to stand with Anderson for one second longer than he has to. Who are the only fighters to give Anderson a hint of trouble in the UFC? Travis Lutter, who had him mounted in the first round and Dan Henderson who took Anderson down and won the first round before Silva finished him in the second. I think Chael has better pure takedowns and more smothering top control than either of those guys. While Anderson will and should be a heavy favorite, it’s a style matchup that makes for an intriguing fight.
Randy’s Title Shot
Now that Randy is 2-0 at 205 do you think his next fight will be a title shot?
Las Vegas, Nevada
No, Mike, I don’t think it will be. Machida and Shogun fight for the title at UFC 113 on May 8. Assuming the winner comes out unscathed, the earliest you’d think they’d be ready to defend the title would be in late July or August. That would put Randy on the shelf for six months. Randy’s fought three times in the last six months alone and said after UFC 109 that he prefers to stay busy. When you factor in that he’s 46, leaving a perfectly healthy, marketable goldmine like Couture on the shelf until late summer doesn’t make a lot of sense. If Randy wins his next fight, I think he will get a title shot in the fight after that. [Ed. note – Randy is 2-0 at 205…THIS go-round.]
Diaz to the UFC?
My question is I am increasingly impressed with Nick Diaz and although in the past I have not been a fan, I am coming around. Do you think there is any chance we could see him back in the UFC?
(Diaz cracks Zaromskis.)
Any chance? Of course, Joe. But don’t expect to see Nick in the UFC any time soon. This topic came up at the UFC 109 press conference last week and Dana agreed that Nick probably belongs in the UFC based on his talent. That’s not the problem. In Dana’s words, Nick doesn’t play the game and there are certain rules that everyone in the UFC has to live with. If you put yourself in the promotion’s position, it’s a tough call. You have a guy who is extremely talented but you have to balance that with, for example, missing a drug test and blowing up a title fight. Dana and Nick are on good terms and the UFC hasn’t had problems working with his brother, Nate, so it’s not like the door is closed. But, it sounds like Nick will have a demonstrate some stability outside the cage before the UFC would be comfortable bringing him back in.