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UFC Twitter Mailbag: Mike Swick, Big John, Gray Maynard, Junie Browning

UFC Twitter universe had questions this weekend about the state of the UFC welterweight division after Mike Swick pulled out of UFC 103 with a concussion, about the reasons for referee Big John McCarthy staying out of the Octagon, and about a couple of UFC lightweights, Gray Maynard and Junie Browning.

Your questions and my answers in our latest UFC Twitter mailbag are below.

Nitrayn: Play fantasy booker for UFC welterweights. With Swick out, the clear #1 seems mucky, since GSP ran through Alves and Fitch.
The groin injury welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre suffered at UFC 100 might have been a blessing in disguise for the UFC, because it's going to be a while before there's a legitimate No. 1 contender to St. Pierre's belt.

I believe Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves are the second- and third-best welterweights in the UFC, but I agree with you that after the way St. Pierre dominated both of them, neither will be worthy of another title shot any time soon. We can also cross Matt Serra, Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck off the list of potential No. 1 contenders; St. Pierre has already beaten them, and there's no reason to think any of them would beat him if they fought again.

I liked the idea of Mike Swick vs. Martin Kampmann being a fight to determine the No. 1 contender, because those two can make a good case that they're the two best UFC welterweights who haven't yet gotten a crack at St. Pierre. But now that Swick is out of UFC 103, I view Kampmann as the big loser: Beating Swick would have been enough to earn him a title shot, but beating Paul Daley isn't.

In a perfect world, I'd love to see Kampmann beat Daley handily and come out of the fight without any injuries, and then fight Swick later this year. But if that doesn't work out, I really have no idea who will challenge St. Pierre next. The UFC's welterweight division is GSP and everyone else.

ktheery: How can you and Big John McCarthy say the UFC has strong influence on referee selection when Steve Mazzagatti is still reffing?
I don't think Dana White has absolute control over the referees the state athletic commissions put in the Octagon, and that's why Mazzagatti is still refereeing even though White doesn't think highly of his work. But I do think White has enough influence to keep McCarthy out of the Octagon. Otherwise, why wouldn't we have seen back in the UFC him by now?

MichaelComeau: For Gray Maynard - Is it unfair that Diego Sanchez (two wins at lightweight) and Kenny Florian (easier competition) got title shots?
I asked Gray Maynard about this on Monday, and he said he has no problem with the UFC's decision to give Florian and Sanchez title shots before him. You can read my full interview with Maynard later this week at FanHouse.

SteveBrownNAA: Junie Browning makes MMA fighters look bad, takes them back 4 steps in the public eyes.
This came in response to my tweet about Browning being in War Machine's corner on Saturday night. I agree with you that Browning made the sport look bad on The Ultimate Fighter, but I must say that I've interviewed Browning a couple of times since he got off the show, and I've found him to be a down-to-earth, likeable guy. I find it a little odd, though, that more than five months after his last fight, I haven't heard a thing about when he's fighting next. For all the attention he draws to himself, I'm not sure that he's really good enough to fight in the UFC.

Want to be part of our next UFC Twitter mailbag? Post a question or comment on, and be sure to start it with @MichaelDavSmith.

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