UFC on Fox 7: Which Fighter Has the Most to Lose?

Andrew SaundersCorrespondent IIApril 19, 2013

On Saturday, April 20, the UFC has an incredible night of important fights as the boys from Zuffa return to Fox for the seventh time.

The action will be intense, and the stakes are very high all across the board. In the main event, a title unification fight between UFC kingpin Benson Henderson and longtime Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez will finally come to fruition. 

In addition, Daniel Cormier makes his long-awaited UFC debut after an incredible run under the Strikeforce banner. Standing across the cage from him will be jiu-jitsu wizard Frank Mir, who hopes to derail the hype train of yet another amateur wrestling standout.

If that's not enough, ranked fighters from several divisions litter the card from top to bottom. With so many quality stars in action, it's hard to tell who has the most to lose.

Some might argue that Canadian welterweight Jordan Mein holds that distinction. After an incredibly successful debut against Dan Miller, Mein was tapped as one of the hottest prospects at 170 pounds. With high expectations, electing to take on tough-as-nails Matt Brown without a full training camp is a dangerous move.

However, prospects crash and burn more often than I'd care to reflect on, so Mein isn't exactly in an uncommon position.

Daniel Cormier hopes that his UFC debut will be as successful as that of Mein. In the evening's co-main event, Cormier takes on former two-time UFC champion Frank Mir in a hotly anticipated contest.

Cormier has the world's attention after defeating former UFC champion Josh Barnett and current heavyweight title contender Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva. With an unblemished 11-0, this breakthrough superstar has an opportunity to prove that he was more than just a big fish in a little pond.

However, Cormier, as imposing as he is, could get caught in a submission by Frank Mir. As evidenced by the UFC tenure of Brock Lesnar, that is far from being an unsalvageable mistake. Beating Frank Mir doesn't guarantee greatness, and losing to him doesn't do anything but rob you of momentum and hype. 

For that reason, Cormier does not have the most to lose at UFC on Fox 7.

Gilbert Melendez also finds himself in a high-profile situation. Debuting inside the Octagon with a belt still around his waist, "El Nino" has the opportunity to prove that he is the greatest lightweight on the planet at a time when he is doubted by oddsmakers who view opponent Benson Henderson as much as a 3.4-to-1 favorite.

While Melendez certainly has a lot on the line, there is unquestionably more upside than down. Considering that he is expected to lose by most of the MMA world, he wouldn't fall tremendously hard in the event that he comes up short against "Smooth."

On the other hand, Benson Henderson is squaring off with a very dangerous opponent who has been branded as a big-time underdog. It's not an easy fight by any means, but due to his impressive performances inside the Octagon, anything short of dominance would be a disappointment. 

Henderson not only has his title on the line, but his flawless UFC record as well, which he looks to improve to 7-0 in the ever-challenging UFC lightweight division. A win on Saturday essentially clears out a division that was otherwise overflowing with talent, which makes Henderson a surefire Hall of Famer less than two years after his first UFC appearance.

A loss takes it out of his grasp.

Be sure to tune in to Bleacher Report MMA on Saturday night for live results and post-fight analysis for all things UFC on Fox 7.


Andrew Saunders is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He hates tomatoes but loves salsa. Please follow him on Twitter because he asked you nicely.