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Twitter Mailbag: Marquardt-Story, Rampage's Future, and More

From doubts about Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's motivation to an imagined MMA Mt. Rushmore, this edition of the Twitter mailbag has got it all. And by all, I mean some.

If you want to ask your own question, or simply tell me how wrong my answers to these questions are, you can find me on Twitter @BenFowlkesMMA.

Now then, who's first?

@tpears86 Should Rick Story get a title shot if he beats Marquardt? Just to piss off Fitch?

I don't know if we really want to start giving out title shots with spite as our main motivation, but you do raise an interesting question. If Story pulls off the win against Marquardt, suddenly he has some very respectable pelts on the wall, not to mention a seven-fight win streak. But with GSP-Diaz already on the docket, Story would probably still have to win one more fight to get his shot. Maybe he could fight the winner of Carlos Condit-Dong Hyun Kim? Now that would really piss off Jon Fitch.

@JeremyFM We keep seeing guys with exciting styles who rank near the top at 135/145 being made to fight on the UFC undercard. Why?

First of all, the main event of the next UFC pay-per-view is a 135-pound title fight between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, and one of the top-billed bouts on the last UFC pay-per-view was a 145-pound bout between Kenny Florian and Diego Nunes. In other words, the situation is not as bad for the little guys as you make it out to be, and it's only getting better.

I think the reason you see the smaller fighters on the prelims more often is because they're still fairly recent additions to the UFC. The hardcores who watched the WEC religiously already know them, but obviously there weren't enough of those hardcores to sustain a promotion. Bantamweights and featherweights are still introducing themselves to the general UFC viewership, so give it a little time. At least now they're in the big show and getting paid.

@GrandpaJesus in all srsns, a) whats next for Maia? b) 1-10 how impressed were you with his boxing? c) isn't maia dreamy?

a) He fought well and lost a close one, so I think you can put him up against just about any mid-level middleweight. Whether Chris Leben wins or loses against Wanderlei Silva next weekend, a Maia-Leben fight might be fun. b) I'll say 7, but that's at least partially because I wasn't expecting much to begin with. c) I'd describe him more as 'hunky,' but okay, whatever.

@ZachLambertski Who is on your Mt Rushmore of MMA or UFC fighters? What's the best thing to do in Missoula?

My personal MMA Mt. Rushmore would look a little something like this: Randy Couture, Kazushi Sakuraba, Fedor Emelianenko, and Anderson Silva. And yes, Sakuraba is the Teddy Roosevelt in this scenario, so everyone just has to accept it as my own idiosyncratic choice and shut up about it.

As for the second part of your question, we have many fine dive bars. And a river to play in. And some great hiking trails. Cram them all into one day if you want. Just probably not in that order.

@Gino301 who has impressed you the most in the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix?

I guess I have to say Josh Barnett. He had one of the easiest opponents, but he fought the smartest fight, took the least risk, and got through to the next round completely unscathed. That's a man with some tournament experience for you.

@sephiroth872 would you be interested in Rampage holding the belt even though he's only in it for the $$$?

I'd be interested in any champion who has what it takes to go out there and win the belt, regardless of what his motivation is.

Look, this is a job. It's a passion too, of course, but everyone wants to make money. I don't begrudge Jackson that. The drive to get paid is what fuels most people to get out of bed in the morning. It is the raison d'être for the entire pop music industry. Without that it'd just be bluegrass and NPR on the radio every day.

At the same time, a love of wealth and a desire not to get beat down on TV is probably not going to be enough to get Jackson past Jon Jones. Even a younger, fully motivated, and less gym-weary Jackson wouldn't match up well against "Bones." The current "Rampage" will probably fare even worse. But hey, if he lands one of those bungalows and ends up becoming champ, it won't matter that he's just there for the cash. The champ is the champ because he wins, not because he has the purest heart and the noblest motivations.

@1Atom How do you see Cormier fairing against more well rounded talent at the top of the HW division?

Magic Eight Ball says: Ask again in six months. But any man who's a former Olympic wrestler -- and who goes toe-to-toe with Cain Velasquez in the gym every day -- has real potential in this sport. Let's see him against either Chad Griggs or Shane del Rosario at the Strikeforce GP semifinal event, and then we'll know a little more.

@breadwhite I know @danawhite says he doesn't like "freak show" fights. Do u agree w/ me that @titoortiz vs. @ryanbader is a freak show?

Wait, what? You're calling Ortiz-Bader a freak show? I almost don't want to ask, but who's the freak in that scenario? Is it Ortiz, just because he's a former champion who's on his way down (and probably out)? Or is it Bader, whose only loss is to the world's best light heavyweight?

It might be a bit of a weird fight -- or just an attempt to give Tito one more chance before they boot him out of the UFC -- but it's by no means a freak show. Neither of them is a giant or a Japanese TV personality or an internet brawler or a former pro baseball player. And, at least to the best of my knowledge, neither of them will be wearing a mask on fight night. You want a freak show? Go look up how Fedor used to spend his New Year's Eve in Tokyo.

@RedsRunRampant Question-Can you explain why Spike is having a Nate M. show? Meaning why him as opposed to GSP, Jones, Brock, etc.?

I don't know if you noticed, but Marquardt is headlining the UFC Live event on a competing cable channel that same night. Spike TV seems resigned to losing UFC programming once the current contract is up, which kind of makes you think that running a day's worth of competing Marquardt programming -- it actually overlaps and thus counter-programs the start of the UFC Live fights -- might be an 'eff you' of sorts to the UFC.

Further in support of that theory is Spike's choice of Marquardt fights. Usually, if you want to pump up a guy, you show his greatest hits. You don't show fights like Marquardt vs. Chael Sonnen (which Marquardt lost) or Marquardt vs. Ivan Salaverry (which Marquardt won, but which was so boring I would consider it a punishment if you made me sit through it again).

And yet, that's what Spike's doing, so maybe that tells us a little something about the relationship between the UFC and its longtime bosom buddy. Since Dana White holds grudges as if he invented the practice, chances are he'll remember slights like this forever and always. Once the UFC goes, Spike TV will have a lot of programming holes to fill. And there's only so many times a person can watch "Star Wars: Episode I."

@dayronv what is the point of strikeforce still around? it's not making that much money and one of their best draws has left (diaz).

The point is that Strikeforce still has a contract with Showtime. If you've ever heard Dana White speak on the subject, you know that he clearly takes a lot of pride in Zuffa's track record for adhering to contracts, so it's going to play this thing out. After that, well...

Strikeforce could stick around as something of a feeder league for the UFC, but if you do that you risk confusing some of the new fans who are still trying to get a handle on this sport. Plus, no matter how many great fights Strikeforce puts on, to many, many people the UFC is not just the name of an organization, but the name of the entire sport. Its brand will always be far more powerful and more profitable, so why run a separate promotion under a lesser-known name?

What I'm saying is, I wouldn't get too attached to Strikeforce if I were you. Once the Showtime contract is up, I think Zuffa will take what it wants from the rusted-out hulk of Strikeforce and leave the rest on the side of the road to be colonized by a family of possums.

@dannyrube Why does everyone who is involved w/ MMA/UFC put "MMA" at the end of their twitter handle. Does it get u more followers?

No. But if your name is already taken by the time you figure out all this Twitter nonsense, then you have to make some tough choices. For me, it was either add MMA at the end or go with @ILoveItWhenYouCallMeBigPoppa. I think I made the right call, but sure, there are still some nights when I lay awake and wonder.