The recent axing of welterweight staple Jon Fitch has raised awareness regarding the lack of job security that exists within the realm of the UFC.
Like several fighters did at the promotion's last event at UFC on Fuel TV 8, a cluster of desperate fighters will put their roster spots on the line at UFC 158 on Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Fighters on the cusp of dismissal almost always generate captivating and action-packed affairs. So fans at the Bell Centre will surely get to witness the beauty of desperation in battle at least a handful of times.
Here's a peek at the fighters who will be on the hot seat at UFC 158.
Although Dan Miller prevailed in his first three UFC bouts, the older brother of perennial lightweight contender Jim Miller has since experienced checkered success at best.
Miller followed up his three-fight winning streak by dropping five of his next eight bouts, including back-to-back decision losses to Nate Marquardt and Rousimar Palhares in 2011.
Miller rebounded in his latest outing when he guillotined Ricardo Funch at UFC on FX 4. Funch, who lost twice by guillotine in four UFC fights, was cut after the loss.
But with budding 23-year-old prospect Jordan Mein on the horizon, Miller will once again have his valor tested by a dangerous and dynamic youngster.
In a classic striker vs. grappler battle, Miller will either save his job with a submission win or lose it with a decision loss.
George Roop may have entered the UFC with more clout than Reuben Duran, but both fighters have lost two of their last three bouts. Both currently dwell in the same precarious position—on the verge of exile.
Roop, a three-fight veteran of the WEC, TKO'd the favored Josh Grispi in his UFC debut before dropping consecutive bouts to a pair of world-ranked opponents in Hatsu Hioki and Cub Swanson.
A standout in the King of the Cage promotion, Duran lost a decision to Takeya Mizugaki in his UFC debut before tapping Francisco Rivera (rear-naked choke) in his second fight with the organization. In his last fight, Duran suffered a first-round knockout at the hands of Hugo Viana, who previously had just six fights to his name, including one in the UFC.
In his tenure fighting under the Zuffa umbrella, Roop has undoubtedly locked horns with more accomplished fighters. But regardless of their level of competition, losing three of four fights usually merits a pink slip.
Following his impressive victory over Thiago Alves at UFC 130, Rick Story appeared destined to clash with welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre.
But unimpressive back-to-back decision losses to Charlie Brenneman and Martin Kampmann, along with a submission setback to Demian Maia (neck crank), have pundits wandering if Story is truly a viable contender.
Since besting Alves, Story has only tasted victory in a decision win over promotional newcomer Brock Jardine at UFC on FX 4.
If Story can't get through a second straight promotional rookie, former KOTC champ Quinn Mulhern, at UFC 158, the former contender will soon find himself on the proverbial chopping block.
Jake Ellenberger could represent the most decorated opponent Marquardt has tangled with since he fell to Chael Sonnen at UFC 109.
So facing "The Juggernaut" in his return to the UFC will surely prove a trying affair for Marquardt, who's been deemed a 1.4-to-1 underdog (+140) by Bovada.com.
Marquardt tested positive for nandrolone in his promotional debut at the original UFC Fight Night. Nearly six years later, "Nate The Great" was cut from the organization after failing to meet the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission's medical requirements before his main-event bout with Story at UFC on Versus 4.
After he essentially ruined the main event at UFC on Versus 4, UFC president Dana White claimed Marquardt would never fight in the organization again.
A spectacular KO of Tyron Woodley in a welterweight title fight in Strikeforce put Marquardt back on the map. But in his first title defense, Tarec Saffiedine looked like he belonged in a league above Nate The Great, instantly transforming Marquardt from a UFC title contender to a gatekeeper.
If Marquardt wants to avoid gatekeeper status, he must pass his most arduous test since Sonnen against the lethal Ellenberger.