From the Mailbag

From The Mailbag: Aug 31, 2007

Kevin from Jersey writes:

I would like to know when we are going to find out about the state of the UFC Lightweight Champion Title. If Sherk just so happens to keep his title, Roger Huerta shoule get the next title shot for the lightweight belt. If Sherk’s appeal is denied and the title is revoked, Huerta and Stevenson should battle it out for the belt. Just the opinion of an everyday fight fan.

Well Kevin, it seems that we are going to know a lot more after Sherk’s meeting with the CSAC scheduled on October 31st. That will be when the commission decides whether or not they are going to reverse Sherk’s positive test for steroids. If they do, expect Sherk to keep his title and fight before the year is over. If they decide to stay with their claim that Sherk tested positive, UFC President Dana White has already said that Sherk will be stripped of the title.

I haven’t heard anything about Huerta getting a possible title shot. I think that he needs to go up against some of the better competition in the division before he will be ready to go up against a fighter the caliber of Sherk or Stevenson. I’ve heard that the winner of the Din Thomas-Kenny Florian fight in September may go up against B.J. Penn in November for the title now that Stevenson has a broken nose and is medically suspended for two months.

Basically nothing is set in stone right now and we aren’t going to learn about the state of the UFC Lightweight Title until after Sherk’s date with the CSAC on Halloween.

From The Mailbag: 2/2/07

Nate from South Jersey writes:

Great page guys…

What are your thoughts on the UFC’s heavyweight division? The last few fights with Sylvia have been really lackluster at best, obviously Arlovski is still one of the better heavyweights, but we’ve seen enough of Sylvia vs. Arlovski. Is the fight between Sylvia and Couture just a publicity stunt/sign of despiration by the UFC similar to the Hughes - Gracie fight last year? What can the UFC do to bring fans to the table to watch heavyweight fights, or as they just gonna continue to be semi-undercards?

Thanks

Thanks for the props Nate…

The UFC’s heavyweight division has improved greatly since last year. The reason why Tim Sylvia’s recent fights have been so lackluster is best stated by Randy Couture himself in that he believes Sylvia is not fighting to win, but fighting not to lose. You can tell that Sylvia is thinking defense first in his fights - He’s trying to avoid getting hit, only taking opening when they are given to him instead of being aggressive and creating them himself. Sylvia has denied that this is his mindset but it’s obvious that he isn’t the same Sylvia we have seen when he was moving up the ranks at the start of his career and when he was trying to win his belt back at UFC 59.

The Sylvia-Couture fight isn’t a publicity stunt of any means. Anyone who has seen Couture fight knows that he is just as dangerous at heavyweight as he is at 205 lbs. Couture has made it known that he was itching to step back into the Octagon ever since he announced his retirement. Moving up to heavyweight is good for him as he has bulked back up to his natural weight of 225 lbs since he retired. At Randy’s age, it’s best that he doesn’t go through the rigors of cutting weight as it takes a strong physical toll on one’s body, especially at his age, when the chance that he might not be able to fully recover in the 24 hour period before the fight is so strong.

As far as the UFC trying to improve the division, aren’t we seeing now that with the additions of Mirko Cro Cop and Heath Herring? Dana White has made it known that he is trying to sign as much top talent as possible this year so I’m certain that those two won’t be the only big additions to the UFC’s heavyweight division this year. I think the UFC should go ahead and build up multiple contenders just like they did at welterweight. This way contract disputes, injuries, and things that would prevent a fight from happening can be worked around. Andrei Arlovski, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Brandon Vera (if he realizes that he needs to actually been an elite fighter before he gets paid top money) are already in line for a title shot if they win another fight or two. Having multiple fighters like them in the division would bring a lot of the excitement back…

From The Mailbag: 2/1/07

Well I guess this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce you to our newest feature - From The Mailbag. Basically if you send in a question, we will try our best to answer it and post it on the site under this heading. Simple as that…

C Rizzle writes:

If Rampage gets through Eastman and I figure he will, do you see Dana matching him up with Liddell right away? (I see him getting 2 fights before a title bout) If not and you are going to give him another bout before the title fight, I could very well see Dana matching him up with Evans, and in light of Evans comments saying he would “knock Jackson out”, I think this could have some merit to it. Or do you see him fighting a Sobral, Jardine, etc. What are your thoughts?

Basically I think it’s all going to come down to what Dana White decides to do. The Light-Heavyweight division is absolutely stacked, we already know that. The problem is that there is no legitimate number one contender to Chuck Liddell’s belt.

Could Quinton Jackson get an immediate title shot if he beats Marvin Eastman? It’s very possible and only because there isn’t any other fighter that is a step ahead of the rest right now and would be a just challenger.

If Rashad Evans and Keith Jardine are forced to fight or else they are terminated from their UFC contracts, I think the two will fight. If not, another scenario Dana may be visualize is Tito Ortiz vs Keith Jardine and Quinton Jackson vs Rashad Evans. Another thing that may prevent this is the fact that Forrest and Tito are heavily rumored to be fighting at UFC 70.

Michael Bisping is still going to have two or three more fights before he is seriously considered just like the rest of The Ultimate Fighter alumni. Renato Sobral and Jason Lambert are scheduled to fight at UFC 68 so that takes them out of the picture for now…

But where does this leave Liddell? Is he going to have to go through another UFC 57-UFC 62 stretch where he doesn’t fight? Will Dana try to grab Wanderlei Silva again? There’s so many possible scenarios that could happen, it’s too early to really to gage what’s going to happen until some of these fights go down and future matchups are finalized.

Anyway there are my thoughts on the situation. Hope I answered your question well enough…

What’s Next for Tito Ortiz?

Crooks wants to know:

What’s next for Tito Ortiz?

Thanks for the question Crooks. At this point it’s tough to say what’s next for Tito Ortiz. He is in a situation where he has lost twice to the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. The one positive for Ortiz was he looked great in the fight with Liddell. It’s tough to say what the UFC will do next for Tito, he may get a comback fight much like Matt Hughes and Rich Franklin against someone who is tough but should be beaten.

I currently think the best match the UFC could put together is a showdown between Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Tito Ortiz. The one downer is the fact that both guys are coming off tough losses to Chuck Liddell. The UFC may want to give them a chance to get a win or two before they set this one up but they desperately need to in the near future. The fans want it and both guys are very popular, marketable fighters.

Ortiz hasn’t hesitated from speaking his mind on the situation with Babalu either as he called him a “B level fighter”. The war of words took place in September after Babalu lost to Chuck Liddell at UFC 62. Ortiz went onto the radio and said:

“Renato Babalu is not really as good as they try to make him to be. They kind of painted the picture more of what they think. I think that was a typical fight for Liddell. That fight will go the same way each and every time. The first time went 2 minutes and 30 seconds and this second one went 1 minute. Renato Babalu is nor really that great of a fighter. He’s a great ‘B’ fighter and an average ‘A’ fighter. He’s not at the level of (Randy) Couture, Liddell or myself.”
Babalu fired back saying:

“I earned my title shot after my results in the octagon. I won my way up to the title shot against Liddell and Tito has his fight guaranteed on a contract. I won my way up with 10 wins in a row with the last three being in the UFC by submission. Tito had two victories in his recent UFC fights with the judges helping him… very controversial results, not convincing!!! Even though I believe it’s impossible, I really hope Tito beats Liddell because it will be easier to smash his face and get the title from him instead of Liddell.”
It’s tough to say who will be next but we know one thing, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Tito Ortiz won’t be locking horns in the octagon as they are both friends and training partners. As you said in your email there have been “rumors” floating around that he may get matched up with either Babalu, Evans, Griffin, or Jardine.

Right now I’d say Jardine or Babalu would be the most likely to be Ortiz’s next opponent. Jardine is coming off of a big win over Forrest Griffin and he is now in a situation where he has to face the division’s best and he’ll find that in Ortiz. After that I’d say Babalu vs. Ortiz is next with the winner getting tossed back into title contention. I don’t see Griffin vs. Ortiz happening right now as both guys are coming off of tough losses and being poster boys of the UFC it will do neither fighter any good losing. Griffin doesn’t want to face a healthy Tito Ortiz after being knocked out by Keith Jardine.

One thing we need to keep in mind is the UFC also acquired the contract of Lyoto Machida so he is a possible opponent for all of the top guys in the division. He will be fighting Sam Hogar at UFC 67 and if he wins that the future will be bright.

So at this point I’d say Jardine seems like the front-runner followed by Babalu.

Feel free to e-mail us your thoughts or questions.

Babalu’s UFC Contract Length

Reader-who-didn’t-sign-his-email wants to know:

How many fights does Babalu have left on his UFC contract?

Well from what I’ve read/heard, Renato “Babalu” Sobral still has three fights left on his UFC deal.

When Babalu made his return to the UFC April 16th, 2005 it was reported the he signed a three-fight deal with the organization. Babalu fought three times before he was finally given a title shot against the UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell. Babalu’s three-fight deal with the UFC would have been finished after his fight with Mike Van Arsdale at UFC 57: Liddell vs. Couture III. That means that Babalu signed an extension with the UFC which allowed him to take part in the UFC light heavyweight title fight with Chuck Liddell. It is rumored that Babalu still has three fights left on his deal.

Erik Apple made a post on ‘The Underground’ that said Babalu would be fighting on the upcoming UFC 67 card but up to this point nothing has been confirmed. Babalu’s page at Wikipedia also has a little blurb that says “He has been offered a fight at the upcoming UFC 67.”

If anyone knows any specifics, drop them in the comments.