By Bryan Levick
When fighting for the UFC, fighters must have a sink or swim mentality. Either you win or you wind up looking for work elsewhere.
There are certain exceptions. Guys like Clay Guida and Alan Belcher for instance can remain gainfully employed because the crowd enjoys their fights, and they are usually exciting.
Starting with UFC 109, I am going to analyze which fighters on the card may be in jeopardy of losing their spot in the organization, and what the future may hold for them.
Mark Coleman: This UFC Hall of Famer is being given an opportunity to show the higher ups that he still has something left in those 44 year old legs of his.
Even though he is fighting a man 18 months older than he is, Coleman is a decided underdog and if he is to lose, there isn’t much left for him to do in the UFC.
If his bout with Couture is a one sided affair or winds up putting everyone to sleep, Coleman may be sent packing.
Otherwise, he could be used as enhancement talent. Afterall, he is someone with name recognition and could be used to elevate the career of an up & coming fighter.
Coleman should lose this fight with Couture but in all likelihood, he will be given one more opportunity to hold on to his job.
Frank Trigg & Matt Serra: You can go back and check my story on these two and you will get all the information you will need to know. Trigg loses, Trigg gets fired. Serra loses, Serra still has a job.
Melvin Guillard: At 26 years old, Guillard has been around for quite some time now. This bout with Ronny Torres will be the 55th of his career.
He has had his fair share of opportunities with the UFC. With a mediocre 5-4 record, “The Young Assassin” may be sent packing with another loss.
Guillard has a history of behavioral and substance abuse problems. He has a wealth of talent but hasn’t been able to put it all together. He is now training with Greg Jackson, and if anyone can unlock that potential it’s Yoda.
Even if Guillard loses and is given a pink slip, he will be back at some point. Maybe a few fights on some smaller cards coupled with an extended period of time training with Jackson will help his career.
Mac Danzig: The season six winner of The Ultimate Fighter has had a less than stellar time in the UFC.
Danzig started off strong winning his first two bouts against Tommy Speer to win the six figure contract, and then against Mark Bocek at UFC 83.
Unfortunately for Danzig, he hasn’t won since. At UFC 100, Jim Miller pummeled Danzig and covered the canvas with his blood.
A loss here will be his fourth in a row, I don’t care who you are, lose four straight bouts in the UFC and you can say goodbye to your job.
Danzig is a respected veteran and could find work in either Japan or quite possibly with Strikeforce.
Justin Buchholz: Being that both of their jobs are on the line, Buchholz and Danzig should put on a good show.
A loss here for Buccholz would be his third in a row and run his UFC record to 1-4.
Sorry, but that’s not enough to keep your spot on the roster, especially in a stacked lightweight division.
A move to some smaller regional shows is more than likely what’s in Buchholz’s future.
Rob Emerson: Let’s face it, the fact that Emerson is still with the UFC is amazing in itself.
Not too many fighters sporting an 8-8 record get an opportunity to fight in the biggest mixed martial arts organization in the world. Yet here Emerson is, getting another opportunity to show he can hang with the big boys.
Having a sub .500 record in both your overall record and in the UFC more than justifies a fighter being released.
Not sure how many promoters would be looking for a fighter with a losing record, but because he has some fights in the octagon, he could prove valuable to somebody.
Phillipe Nover: It’s hardly conceivable to me that Nover’s name is making this list. The man touted as a young Georges St. Pierre during his run on The Ultimate Fighter has yet to win a fight in the UFC.
Losing in the final to Efrain Escudero was seen as a minor speed bump. A wake-up call if you will, Nover’s wrestling needed to be on par with the rest of his game.
In all fairness to Nover his loss to Kyle Bradley at UFC 98 was very controversial. A loss to Emerson tomorrow night won’t look good, but Nover will more than likely get another opportunity to prove he belongs.
Tim Hague: This 6’4″ former kindergarten teacher is in the record books for all the wrong reasons.
He is the man that Todd Duffee knocked out in seven seconds at UFC 102. Not exactly the type of attention you want attached to your name in the sport of mixed martial arts.
He pulled off a come from behind win at UFC 98 against Pat Barry, so a loss here doesn’t necessarily mean he will lose his job.
If he does get embarrassed again and suffers another one sided loss, then he may be checking the unemployment ads.
There are plenty of smaller companies who could provide Hague with some fights, he’s big, strong and seems to have a good personality.
Fighting in the UFC is pretty much every mixed martial artists dream. The money is better, and you get to fight in front of nearly 20,000 rabid fans.
You also have the opportunity to fight alongside some of the world’s greatest fighters, and train with some of the greatest coaches in the business.
The negative aspect is simple. It’s a cutthroat business and there is always somebody waiting to take your job.
We’ve all seen it before as the UFC has released some very talented fighters. Case in point, Jake Rosholt, he looked pretty impressive against Chris Leben at UFC 102.
Then he loses to Kendall Grove just three months later and he was cut.
You want to be a fighter? Then win your fights!