Who's on the Hot Seat at UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs. Bisping?
The UFC on FX 7 event is just around the corner and Michael Bisping has gone into overdrive with hyping the event.
It's a good thing because outside of the main event there aren't a lot of relevant fights on the main card.
Bisping will face Vitor Belfort in the main event, and should the Brit emerge victorious, he will receive a future title shot.
The rest of the card is littered with a number of talented fighters, but none of the contests will put any competitor "in the mix" for anything close to a title shot.
Even though many of the fights aren't relevant in terms of UFC title pictures, that doesn't mean a number of fighters still don't face the hot seat. From the main event down to the prelims, a number of fighters need to pick up a victory to keep their place in the UFC's ranks secure.
Edson Barboza seemed to be well on his way from an emerging prospect to a contender, but hit a major road block at UFC 146.
The man dubbed as "the next Anderson Silva" will need to bounce back in a big way on Saturday night.
Barboza was beaten up badly by the veteran Jamie Varner and was sent back to being a heralded prospect. It was an ugly loss and when you combine the fact that many MMA fans felt Barboza lost his contest against Ross Pearson at UFC 134, the Brazilian very easily could 1-2 in his last three fights.
Facing the unknown Lucas Martins at UFC on FX 7, Barboza should be able to utilize his skills to put on a display to remind fans of how talented he is. He can't afford a loss, let alone to an UFC newcomer, or Barboza could be facing the chopping block rather than just a hot seat.
Ben Rothwell/Gabriel Gonzaga
Ben Rothwell and Gabriel Gonzaga will meet one another in a pivotal heavyweight contest.
It's not important because either man will be challenging for a title in the near future. It's important because a loss for either man likely means the end to any relevancy in the UFC's heavyweight division.
Gonzaga hit a rough patch in his career from 2007-2010, going 3-5 during that span. The tough times even forced the Brazilian to enter a brief retirement after losing to Brendan Schaub at UFC 121. Gonzaga will always have his BJJ to fall back on but it's been his durability on the feet that's been called into question recently.
Rothwell will no doubt look to test the chin of Gonzaga as he looks to maintain his new found success in MMA. Rothwell has alternated wins and losses thus far in his UFC career and looked downright pitiful at UFC 135. He turned things around against Schaub at UFC 145 and also looked to be in great physical shape.
A win for either man won't propel them into title contention, but it will stave off being forced to fighting UFC newcomers in irrelevant fights for the rest of their UFC careers.
Michael Bisping doesn't have to worry about his job security heading into the UFC on FX 7 event.
His ability to hype a fight and consistently perform have made sure the brash Brit isn't going anywhere.
What he does have to worry about however is that this may be his last chance at a UFC title shot. To this point, Bisping has become the middlweight equivalent of Kenny Florian. Bisping is more than apt at handling lesser competition—but when it comes time to perform in a big fight, Bisping always finds himself on the losing end.
In Vitor Belfort, the Englishman will face a familiar style.
Belfort still has some of the fastest hands in the division and hits like a Mack truck. Bisping has faced a hard puncher before in Dan Henderson and literally walked into Henderson's power punches. He'll need to avoid making stupid mistakes against Belfort, who could end Bisping's night in a single strike.
A loss for Bisping won't end his tenure as one of the better middleweights in the UFC but it could end his chances at ever competing for an UFC title.