UFC on Fuel TV 4: Which Fighter Has the Most to Gain?

Hunter Homistek@HunterAHomistekCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2012

CREDIT: mmajunkie.com
CREDIT: mmajunkie.com

Mark Munoz.

Oh, wait, I was supposed to set that up first? 

Well, screw it; I'm getting to the point here.

Mark Munoz, without a doubt, has the most to gain should he defeat Chris Weidman at UFC on Fuel TV 4 this Wednesday, July 11. 

An obvious place to start this discussion revolves around a big, shiny golden object that every UFC fighter desires (or should desire). 

I, of course, speak of Melvin Guillard's hairstyle, the most glorious tribute to a washed up singer who sang about thongs in UFC history. 

In seriousness, Munoz reportedly plans to call for a title shot upon victory, and that is as much incentive to win as a fighter will ever have upon stepping into the Octagon for battle. 

Munoz, who is riding a four-fight winning streak, can stake a strong claim for the title with a victory, and he knows that getting through Weidman puts him dangerously close to a tangle inside "The Spider's" web. 

Word from the UFC has not been released as to whether or not Munoz will get the shot with a win, but it is a guarantee that he will not, should he lose.  With guys like Hector Lombard, Michael Bisping, Alan Belcher and Brian Stann still clogging up the middleweight title picture, it is not hard to set Munoz aside with a less-than-stellar performance against Weidman. 

Title shot aside, this fight is big for Munoz from a marketing standpoint. 

Munoz, unlike guys like Bisping, Sonnen and Stann, is not a well-known name to the casual MMA fan, and his popularity pales in comparison to guys who are actually ranked below him in the division. 

If Munoz puts on an impressive performance against Weidman on Fuel TV, he will serve not just his contender status but also his popularity and name recognition.  In an increasingly social media-driven sport, do not count out the importance of being popular with the fans. 

Lastly, Munoz has something to prove to his colleagues and critics against Weidman.  As I mentioned, Weidman is a tough opponent, but simply calling him "tough" does not do his skill set justice. 

Weidman is one of the best wrestlers in the middleweight division, and his ability to avoid takedowns and dictate where his fights take place has been astonishing to this point in his career (for instance, he has stuffed 100 percent of his opponents' takedown attempts).

Furthermore, Weidman's striking is constantly evolving, and his submission game is savvy and polished under the tutelage of Matt Serra. 

If Munoz can solve the riddle of Weidman's game, he will send a message to his critics and to the middleweight division that says, "I'm here, and I'm ready for anything."

With title shot implications, the ability to build a brand and the opportunity to strike fear in his fellow fighters on the line, it is clear that a win at UFC on Fuel TV 4 provides the greatest reward for Mark Munoz. 

"The Filipino Wrecking Machine" is a beast, and there is no better time than now for him to prove it.