Being one of the most beloved heavyweights in the UFC can only get you so far. After losses in three of his past four fights, it's no secret that Pat Barry could be fighting for his job against Christian Morecraft on Friday night.
Though Barry has been involved in some of the most entertaining fights in recent memory, MMA is a sport before entertainment, which means a fighter's success ultimately comes down to wins and losses. For Barry to remain a member of the world's premier MMA organization, he will have to defeat Morecraft at UFC on FX.
Despite losing to Cheick Kongo and Stefan Struve in his past two bouts, Barry did show more aggressiveness and better wrestling as a result of moving his training camp to Team DeathClutch for those fights. While his wrestling is still far from where it needs to be, Barry's improvement in that area will be important against Morecraft.
Having been knocked out by Matt Mitrione in his most recent appearance, Morecraft will not want to even think about striking with a former kickboxer in Barry, especially given his opponent's close affiliation with Mitrione as former training partners.
Put simply, this fight will come down to whether or not Barry can keep Morecraft standing long enough to connect.
Morecraft possesses some deadly ground and pound, but his takedowns are not nearly as effective as those Barry was forced to defend on a daily basis at Team DeathClutch from former NCAA champion wrestlers Brock Lesnar and Cole Konrad.
All that work Barry put into improving his wrestling will finally pay off this Friday. After lowering Morecraft's hands with kicks to the legs and body, Barry will blast his opponent with a knockout punch in the second round, securing his position on the UFC roster for at least a few more appearances.
Sean Smith is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. For the latest insight and updates on everything MMA, you can follow Sean on Twitter @SeanSmithMMA.