Hatsu Hioki isn't the only fighter who could see his title aspirations slip away with a poor performance. Gray "The Bully" Maynard is coming off two of the most entertaining bouts not only in UFC history, but MMA history as well.
He put on a dominant showing in the first rounds of both his fights against Frankie Edgar at UFC 125 and UFC 136. Maynard was unable to put Edgar away and was visibly gassed in the second meeting. Edgar made a miracle comeback to force a draw at UFC 125 and stormed back to finish Maynard in the fourth round at UFC 136.
Following the loss to Edgar, Maynard embarked on a journey to find a new home as he left Xtreme Couture. His travels brought him to the prestigious Nova Uniao camp and finally to American Kickboxing Academy.
Maynard is set to debut the "new" version of himself after finding new coaches, new training partners and, hopefully, a new way to fight. Although nearly every other fighter would've been rewarded with a victory given the beating Maynard put on Edgar, "The Bully" was forced to recover and chase Edgar around the Octagon for another four rounds.
It won't be an easy comeback fight for Maynard either, as he faces another nonstop fighter in Clay Guida. Guida has been on the cusp of becoming a title contender for years but hasn't beaten that "big name" to break through gatekeeper status.
If Maynard can't overcome Guida's high-octane offense, he won't only see his chances of achieving vindication against Edgar escape his grasp, but also his title hopes as well.
The lightweight division is as stacked as ever with title challengers coming and going with each event. Maynard not only needs to win, but win impressively. Anything less than that, and we may see Maynard slip behind Anthony Pettis for a UFC title shot.
If Maynard loses to Guida, you can almost be certain a title shot will be years down the line for Maynard. Despite being a talented fighter, he's not exactly what you would call a fan favorite. He doesn't have an outgoing personality and has been called a boring fighter on numerous occasions.
Without fan support, Maynard will be hopeless for a bout against Edgar or another title shot. He stands to lose a lot if he not only loses, but doesn't win in impressive fashion.