10 UFC Fighters Who Need to Impress in Their Next Fight

Kyle Symes@ksymes88Correspondent IIIMarch 26, 2012

10 UFC Fighters Who Need to Impress in Their Next Fight

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    If there's one surefire way to keep your job in the UFC as a fighter, it is by impressing Dana White and the fans. We've seen it occur multiple times where a guy who obviously doesn't have the skill set to be in the UFC remain employed for simply being an exciting and fan-favorite fighter.

    The fighters on this list need to rebound in impressive fashion in their next fight. There is no way a fighter can be totally focused on their bout when having to worry about being handed their pink slip for losing.

    Some of the fighters on this list even won their last fight, but still need to come back strong to put any doubters to rest.

    If there's one thing fans and fighters can relate to, enjoying it's job security, and the fighters on this list can ensure some measure of that by coming back in impressive fashion for their next bout.

Mike Swick

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    If you're asking yourself who Mike Swick is, don't worry, you're not alone. We haven't seen Swick in the Octagon since February 2010, when he was choked unconscious by Paulo Thiago.

    Since then, Swick has had a string of injuries that have prevented the former welterweight contender from returning. He was scheduled to finally make his return at UFC 134, but once again another injury derailed his comeback plans.

    Besides not fighting for over two years, Swick is riding a two-fight losing streak that saw the AKA product also lose to Dan Hardy in a title-eliminator bout.

Dan Hardy

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    Dan Hardy is, without question, skating on thin ice with the UFC. Yes, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta have taken a liking to the brash British star. But after four consecutive losses, there's honestly no reason for Hardy to still be employed by the promotion.

    Losing to champion Georges St-Pierre is acceptable, and his bout against Carlos Condit was just a case of getting caught. But his last two fights have shown that Hardy doesn't have the all-around skill set to hang with the top welterweights.

    A loss to Duane Ludwig at UFC 146 will definitely mean the end of the road in the UFC for Hardy.

Jake Shields

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    Jake Shields may have won his last bout at UFC 144 against Yoshihiro Akiyama, but it wasn't exactly his best showing. Instead of using his top level jiu-jitsu game, Shields attempted to win a striking battle with Akiyama.

    He was successful for the most part, but failed to impress. Now, Shields is thinking he will one day be able to out-strike the welterweight's elite strikers. I don't know why Shields thinks he needs to stand and bang to be exciting, because he has the grappling skills to wow fans.

    Shields got a much-needed win after dropping two straight, but the former Strikeforce champion has failed to live up to all the hype surrounding his entry into the UFC.

Melvin Guillard

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    The first half of 2011 was very good for Melvin Guillard. Two impressive KOs had fans thinking Guillard had finally realized his potential, and was on his way to a title shot.

    Two quick submission losses to Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller effectively ended any title-contention talk. Not only has he lost two fights in a row, they were embarrassing losses for Guillard.

    Guillard needs to bounce back in order to stay relevant in the shark tank that is the UFC lightweight division. Also, a win for Guillard would vindicate his move from Jackson's MMA to Imperial Athletics.

Antonio Silva

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    Antonio Silva was a heavyweight wrecking machine while in the Strikeforce promotion. Silva lost his Strikeforce debut to Fabricio Werdum, but then proceeded to win three straight, which included victories over a former UFC champion and violent beatdowns of Mike Kyle and Fedor Emelianenko.

    All his momentum was stopped, however, by the underdog Daniel Cormier in his last bout. Silva was knocked out of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, and fans were left wondering what would be next for the massive Brazilian.

    Silva will not only look to impress by defeating Roy Nelson in his UFC debut, but also will look to make a solid impression after switching back to American Top Team from Imperial Athletics.

Gray Maynard

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    Gray Maynard arguably should've been the fighter defending his belt against Benson Henderson at UFC 144. Instead, Frankie Edgar was able to survive both first rounds in their bouts, and come back to retain his title.

    The loss to Edgar in their rubber match was especially damaging, as Maynard not only failed to finish the job again, but was knocked out in the process.. After the loss, Maynard has been on a search for a new home following his departure from Xtreme Couture.

    Maynard has done a lot of work in his down time to improve his game, including training at AKA and flying down to Nova Uniao in Brazil. Maynard will look to come back better than ever in 2012.

Cain Velasquez

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    Cain Velasquez only had one fight last year, but it was the most high-profile fight of his career, which he lost. The former heavyweight champion not only lost, but looked rather lackluster in his first performance back since shoulder surgery.

    Velasquez simply froze up in his title defense and it cost him dearly, as Junior dos Santos was able to knock Velasquez out on UFC's network debut. As impressive as Velasquez's run to the top was, all of his momentum came to an end in just 64 seconds.

    The former champion will have a chance to redeem himself when he takes on Frank Mir in a No. 1 contender bout at UFC 146.

Rick Story

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    Once considered on the cusp of being in welterweight-title contention, Rick Story has now dropped two straight bouts.

    The loss to Charlie Brenneman is understandable, given the last-minute controversy that surrounded Nate Marquardt and Brenneman. In his last bout however, Story was simply outclassed by Martin Kampmann at UFC 139.

    Story has defeated a number of top welterweights, and will look to get back on track when he faces off against Rich Attonito at the UFC on FX 4 event.

Tito Ortiz

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    Tito Ortiz will likely be remembered as one of the greatest light heavyweights in UFC history, but stands to have his legacy tainted by his recent run with the company. Going a combined 1-6-1 in his last eight bouts has left Ortiz in a bit of limbo with UFC fans.

    His final UFC appearance will be a rubber match with Forrest Griffin, which, as a MMA fan, you either want to see how the rivalry ends, or just want to see it end period. The first two bouts were close, so the third meeting should be, at the very least, entertaining.

    In order to prevent fans from undermining what Ortiz did earlier in his career, he will need to soundly beat Griffin in the curtain call of his UFC career.

Georges St-Pierre

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    Georges St-Pierre is the reigning champion at 170 pounds and has looked invincible in his last bouts. So why would GSP need to impress fans in his next bout?

    Because we've seen athletes in other sports come back from ACL tears and never be the same, which is a real possibility given how much St-Pierre depends on his explosiveness.

    Carlos Condit has looked very impressive en route to winning the UFC's interim welterweight title, and has the ability to give GSP a run for his money in their future bout.

    A successful return from surgery will put to rest any doubt of St-Pierre's health, as he moves forward in cementing his legacy as one of the top welterweights in MMA history.