With a little more than a week remaining in what has been a wild month in mixed martial arts -- both in and out of the cage -- SI.com readers aren't short on opinions or questions. From the heavyweight legends and 185-pound contenders on the UFC's upcoming card in Portland, Ore., to the thought of
You asked. I answered.
Five weeks prior to losing to
So many questions surround these fighters, but what we do know is that the 33-year-old Brazilian has been a serviceable striker throughout his career. He likes to box. He's slow, but he can throw a decent combination. Same with Couture. I don't see a distinct advantage for either guy on the feet.
My hope is it turns into a ground war because both men are at their best on the canvas -- though their approaches are totally different.
Pay attention to a couple of things if it hits the floor: Should Nogueira take Couture down and hold him there, the Brazilian will greatly increase his chances of winning. However, if Nogueira is forced to fight from the bottom, even with that world famous guard of his, I can't imagine the aging former Pride champion having much success without getting mashed into a bloody pulp.
My gut says Nogueira. My head says
Love this middleweight fight at UFC 102.
I'm picking Marquardt, who's a huge step up in competition for Maia. Nate's physical presence, well-roundedness and, most importantly, his submission-fighting experience should be enough to diffuse Maia's otherworldly Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
If not, Maia will have made a huge statement in the division, setting up a major fight against
That would be ideal, but Georges St. Pierre hasn't expressed much interest in moving up in weight. And I'm not sure Anderson could make a catchweight of 180 anymore, presuming that's what the fight called for.
G.S.P.-Silva is a special bout that would do huge business. Same with Lesnar-Silva, so long as Anderson lays down the framework with one or two wins at heavyweight.
Which draw is better?
Tight call, but if Anderson proves he can hang at heavyweight, a fight with Lesnar is the box-office smash. That said, a highly unscientific poll on my Twitter page (
Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. That's an ongoing discussion in the sport. If MMA really is about determining the best fighters, then everyone should be fair game. But the way things are structured inside most gyms, fighters form teams to rely upon in training. It shouldn't come as a shock that as friendships develop the idea of fighting a buddy -- which, let's be real, isn't the equivalent of playing your sister in a tennis match -- is tough to swallow. I'm with wrestlers
Hendo and Lindland appear to be in the minority.
In the end, you'd think professional pride and the desire to be the best is enough for most fighters to look beyond personal/professional relationships. But that's obviously not always the case.
Chalk it up to a general lack of defense in the sport. MMA is an aggressive, attacking discipline, which is why, when someone's capable of effective defense -- movement, creating angles to counter attack, blocking and checking kicks, parrying punches, fending off takedowns and submissions -- they're far more dangerous. Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida create offense off their defense. It's an art within an art. As the sport evolves, hopefully kids are taught the principles of defense alongside offensive tactics. Good trainers will definitely make it a focus in the gym.
My rankings were completed after Cyborg's win over Carano.
But you bring up an interesting point. Soon we'll include women's divisions in the rankings. Should there be separate P4P lists for men and women? Probably. Would I consider putting a woman on a list that includes men? Absolutely. But if I had to put a female on the list right now, it wouldn't be Cyborg. I'd go with Japan's
He tested clean for fights in Nevada and California, so, at the very least, he's been steroid-free for a handful of bouts since 2002. As to your question, which rings with the same tone as many e-mails I've received about Barnett, the answer boils down to confusion. Barnett's not suspended anywhere. While I don't like having him in my top 10 under the circumstances, he's in there at No. 3 because of his record -- not his morals or ethics. Best answer I have for you is I punted on this one. His reputation is widely known. People can make up their own minds as to whether or not he's deserving of a ranking. We know where you stand.