Twitter Mailbag: UFC on FOX, Strikeforce Grand Prix, and More

Alistair OvereemFor a week without any major event, we've still had an eventful few days in the MMA world. Between major announcements, post-fight fallout, and pre-fight Grand Prix build-up, there's no shortage of available topics for the old Twitter Mailbag.

Hit me up on Twitter @BenFowlkesMMA to ask your own question. Then hit me up again a few weeks later to complain about not getting an answer. It's a vicious cycle.

@taylorloyal With Cain- Junior on 1st Fox card, sort out the rest of the division. Which fight(s) should determine the next contender?

It all depends what Zuffa decides to do with those Strikeforce heavyweights. In a perfect world, you'd hurry up and finish that Grand Prix tournament so the winner could immediately slide on over to the UFC and challenge for the belt. Sadly, ours is far from a perfect world, so it may not go down like that.

Of the existing UFC heavyweights, I'd match Frank Mir against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in a rematch, mostly because I have no idea what else you'd do with either of them at this point. Then I would pray for the stars to align on a Brock Lesnar-Alistair Overeem blockbuster, the mere thought of which is so awesome I have to take a pill to calm down if I even get started thinking about it.

Do either of those work as number one contender fights? Hard to say. If Lesnar beat Overeem, it'd be a little weird for him to get right back in a title fight after winning just one bout as a non-champion. If Overeem won (which I think is more likely), you couldn't justify not giving him a crack at the belt.

Basically, here's where I'd be as vague as possible about the stakes if I'm the UFC, then decide what to do once the dust clears. With Strikeforce fighters waiting in the wings, I think the UFC heavyweight division is on the verge of getting very, very interesting. It's less a matter of which dream fights materialize, and more a matter of which ones materialize first.

@LoganasaurusRex who is the smartest fighter in the game? In terms of mma knowledge, game planning and just general smarts?

That's essentially three different questions, but okay, I can handle it. As far as being a walking encyclopedia of MMA knowledge, I don't think you can beat Mo Lawal. He seems to know every fight that every other fighter has had, and he can reconstruct them blow by blow. It's actually kind of creepy, and it makes you think he does nothing but sit around and watch fights all day, which is only partially true.

When it comes to constructing and, more importantly, sticking to a game plan, I think it's a tie between Randy Couture and Georges St. Pierre. Both of them are known for coming into a fight with a very specific strategy, and implementing it even when their opponents know it's coming.

Overall intelligence? Well, that's an impossible question simply because there are so many different types of intelligence. Shane Carwin's an engineer in charge of whole city water systems, which sounds hard. Josh Barnett and "Mayhem" Miller are two of the most fun fighters to talk to, since they're both quick-witted and interesting guys, and both are secret nerds in different ways. Kenny Florian seems like he could probably sit down with a number two pencil and ace the SATs tomorrow if he had to. And who knows, maybe Chael Sonnen could write a haiku that would make us all cry. He's obviously got some creative talent kicking around in there.

@MattRoth512 Has anyone asked "How much fun was UFC 134 and was it your favorite event ever?" Because that's my question for mailbag.

As a matter of fact they haven't, so thank you for asking. The answers to your two questions are 1) so much fun, and 2) maybe not my favorite, but definitely one of the most memorable. If you ever get a chance to go to Rio, take it. The food is unbelievable, and the people are wonderful hosts. Better pack a good book or three, though. That flight is brutal.

@KevinMarshall what goes in the main event slot for UFC 139? And will we see Brock vs Overeem in 2011?

Another multiple question? I'm starting to feel like you guys are taking advantage of me. The problem with moving a title fight off one event and onto another is that you're sort of obliged to replace it with a different title fight. Or at least, you're obliged to do that if you don't want to hear a ton of griping from fans.

The champ most likely to be ready by then would probably be Anderson Silva. If the UFC is interested in/capable of signing a rematch between Silva and Dan Henderson, now would be the time. I sure wouldn't mind seeing it.

As for Lesnar and Overeem, you're basically asking me to tell you if it's going to rain three Saturdays from now. I could take a guess, but it would only be a guess. I know that, personally, I'd love to see that fight. I also know that getting both those guys in a cage right now is probably a little more complicated than strolling up to both and asking, in your best Undertaker voice, 'You wanna do it?'

@TheFightingPost Do you think the TUF production changes will revitalize the show?

Admitting this makes me feel a little bit like a guy who's just been suckered into playing a carnival game by a very talented barker, but yes, I actually do. For me, the reality show drama got old as soon as Shonie Carter was no longer around to bling the crap out of every surface in the house. That leaves the fights as the only source of interest, though it's hard to get too fired up about watching a tournament unfold when you know it was all taped weeks and weeks ago.

If nothing else, the live fight format promises to make it feel more immediate, and maybe that will inject new life into the show. Sports on tape delay are only so interesting, and we're quickly getting to the point where no one can stand to hear even one more argument among pro fighters about dirty dishes or missing cereal.

@michaelbond89 anderson silva wants 2 fight his clone? How do u see it goin down? A stand off? Double knockout? Simultaneous tap?

He says he wants that fight, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if Silva did come face to face with his clone he might change his mind. How do you look in your own eyes and summon that kind of pitiless brutality? How do you attack your own face with one of Steven Seagal's deadly moves?

I think Silva and his clone would actually become great friends, splitting up household chores and taking turns giving interviews and making public appearances. Behind closed doors they'd be inseparable. Perfect training partners who always get each other's jokes.

Then one day Chael Sonnen would drop by the gym and casually ask which one is the real Silva and which is the clone. Perplexed, they'd stare in horror at one another as it dawned on each that he could never be sure whether he was the original or merely a copy, nor could they be sure that it even mattered.

And as the two Silvas pondered this terrible riddle alone, yet together, the only sound in the distance would be Sonnen's cruel laughter as he sped away in a car driven by his own impersonator, some guy with a Hispanic accent.

@VineStreetLife TMB:I don't see any "bungalow throwin" in Quinton's future @135. Agree?And is Jones as "off putting" in person as he seems?

I disagree. I think "Rampage" Jackson will absolutely come looking to throw them bungalows at UFC 135. I just don't think he'll land many of them.

As for Jon Jones, I wouldn't say he's off-putting at all. He's a nice guy, and surprisingly mature for his age. If anything, he's just a little too image-conscious, and much too sensitive to criticism. If you're going to be in the spotlight, you've got to develop thicker skin.

@JasonRule what is your opinion of Cruz-Johnson on VS (besides that it's a free fight) is Faber the only marketable 135er? why no ppv?

I wouldn't say Faber is the only marketable bantamweight, but let's face it, he is still the most marketable bantamweight. The problem is that, after relegating the lighter weight classes to a second-tier promotion for so long, the UFC needs time to build awareness about them among the general fan base.

Hopefully, the most recent Cruz-Faber bout made some of those people realize how exciting 135-pounders can be. Putting a 135-pound title fight on free TV provides another chance for the division to ease its way into the broader fan consciousness, even if it could be seen as mildly insulting to the champ.

If we're being honest though, we have to admit that Cruz-Johnson is not a fight that, by itself, would sell a ton of pay-per-views right now. Maybe if we give the division time and space to grow, all while increasing its exposure via free TV and building new contenders, that will change.

@JeremyFM if penn defeats condit, what happens to the WW title picture? Could the ufc actually promote penn vs gsp 3?

First of all, I don't see how B.J. Penn is going to beat Carlos Condit. He's not going to surprise anyone with his wrestling after he let that cat out of the bag against Jon Fitch, and he tends to fade in the later rounds, while Condit only gets better. Then again, Penn has been full of surprises his whole career, both good and bad, so it's a possibility we can't rule out.

But even if Penn somehow put Condit away in the first round, I still think the UFC would have a hard time selling another GSP-Penn fight. The last one wasn't exactly competitive, after all. As long as GSP is champion (and don't forget, he's got a tough fight with Nick Diaz coming up) people are going to push for him to face new challenges (cough*Anderson Silva*cough) rather than rehashing old battles.

@LiamOaf do you think either or Hendo or the Reem will sign with the UFC??

Yes and yes. Where else are they going to go? Unless they have dreams of opening up an Arby's together somewhere, they'll both end up in the Octagon. It's the only rational, profitable move for big time MMA fighters.

@Jason_MMA 1 fight on Fox, which will probably last 7.5 minutes, in a 1 hour time slot. How should they fill the void?

FOX seems to be kicking around the idea of either airing a taped fight from the undercard or else showing some sort of highlight package of the night's action. Of those options, going with another full fight is definitely preferable to a bunch of decontextualized clips of random violence among men the casual viewer has had no chance to get to know. If the goal is to introduce a new audience to MMA, it's better to give them fewer full servings than a bunch of small samplings.

@Liver_Shot What's your opinion on the beef between @Jonnybones and @Rampage4real ? Also, do you think ONE FC will revitalize Asian MMA?

There's bound to be a little personality conflict between those two, but it also seems like a half-hearted and unnecessary effort to sell a fight that sells itself. It doesn't matter what they think about each other, that fight is stylistically interesting enough that people will watch even if they never utter a contentious word to one another.

Every time you watch Jones it feels a little like peeking at a science experiment. How much will he have advanced since the last time we saw him? What's the newest mutation in his game? You know he's going to do something wild that we'll all be talking about the following Monday, but you don't know yet what it will be.

As for ONE FC, I'm glad there's a new organization trying to do something in that market, but after watching the inaugural event I'm not sure I see it being a complete game-changer. I hope I'm wrong, though.

@joelsellsout Who is the Kurt Vonnegut of MMA fighters?

Charlie Brenneman. It's the hair.

@noelluperon What IS the SF GP now? As the UFC picks the bits it likes from SF, does it matter winning this thing? Only for the winner?

It matters in the same way that it is always better to win than to lose, but with Overeem gone from the field you can't even sort of claim that this tournament will determine the best heavyweight in MMA. That was a shaky claim to begin with, but it was kind of like my repeated assertions that The Rolling Stones were the best country-western band ever. Even though I didn't completely believe it, at least it prompted interesting conversations.

But now that the GP has been reduced to a four-man field that features a promising, but relatively inexperienced alternate in the place of the organization's heavyweight champ, we have to admit the tournament has lost a lot of its sparkle. That's not to say that winning it will mean nothing. If Josh Barnett crushes Sergei Kharitonov and then "Bigfoot" Silva, he could roll right into the UFC will a full head of steam.

On the flip side, if injury withdrawals and bracket gerrymandering result in a Daniel Cormier vs. Chad Griggs finale, we'll probably all just be happy to have it over with.

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