The UFC heads back to Seattle on Saturday night for UFC on Fox 8: Johnson vs. Moraga. The card is filled with recognizable names from top to bottom, but many of the fighters participating on Saturday appear to be on the proverbial hot seat.
When it comes down to figuring out who has the most to lose, it’s never as plain and simple as just picking someone who is defending their belt. In this case Demetrious Johnson, should he lose to John Moraga, would still be fine. He’d either get an immediate rematch, or he’d be one win away from fighting for the belt again.
There are also scenarios like Bobby Voelker, who is taking the fight on late notice due to an injury. Voelker was one of the few Strikeforce fighters who lost their UFC debut and was not released by the organization. One would have to believe that, win or lose, Voelker will still have a job with the UFC since he's doing the company a favor by filling a hole in their card.
For this event on Saturday my attention will be on Melvin Guillard, as I believe he has the most to lose.
It was only two years ago that Guillard knocked out Shane Roller en route to his fifth consecutive UFC win and we were touting him as the next great thing in MMA. Not only was he successful, but he did it with a flare and excitement that the fans of the sport crave.
At the time Guillard was 28-years-old and looked to be on the cusp of something special. Then came UFC 136, where he was submitted by Joe Lauzon in just 47 seconds. Three months after that he was submitted by Jim Miller in only two minutes.
Somewhere along the line Guillard lost his focus.
Perhaps the buzz from the media fed his ego a bit too much and he got comfortable in his training camps. Perhaps the competition he was beating was far below the caliber of the guys he has faced over the last couple of years. Whatever the reason, Guillard now finds himself clinging to a spot on the UFC roster.
Should “The Young Assassin” lose to Mac Danzig, it would be his fifth loss in his last six fights. Unless he gets robbed of a decision after an exciting fight, I’d have to believe Guillard would be cut shortly after the event.
Danzig hasn’t been faring much better lately, and he needs a win to keep himself far above the chopping block.
The ones who have the most to lose typically have their jobs on the line. The fact that Guillard had such a bright future just a couple of years ago and now finds himself one loss away from being out of the organization puts him at the forefront of this list for the UFC on Fox 8.
Guillard has his back up against the wall. If we don’t see the true “Young Assassin” on Saturday night, we may never see him again.
Joe Chacon is a contributor to Bleacher Report, The MMA Corner and Operation Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeChacon.