UFC on FOX 9: 5 Fighters with the Most to Gain
This weekend will mark the ninth installment of UFC on FOX.
Headlined by a flyweight championship grudge match between Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson and Joseph Benavidez, the main card is stacked to the brim even despite a recent pull-out from red-hot welterweight Matt Brown.
Now, on the heels of yet another injury, fan favorite Joe Lauzon and promotional veteran Mac Danzig will lock horns on national television.
That's not all. Every fight on this card has the potential to deliver. From top to bottom, each fighter has something to fight for. Each fighter has something to prove.
Here are the five Octagon combatants who have the most to gain this weekend.
With two impressive UFC victories under his belt—the latter via TKO after a controversial body kick against James Krause—Bobby Green is seeking his third straight statement win.
As a former Strikeforce standout, it was only a matter of time before the 27-year-old made some news in the UFC.
If Green can manage to finish a hard-nosed Pat Healy in impressive fashion this weekend, he'll most certainly get an upgrade in competition in 2014 as he attempts to challenge the lightweight division's top 10.
Filling in for an injured Kelvin Gastelum, Long Island native Ryan LaFlare has a chance to not only extend his win streak to three, but knock off one of the most game fighters in the UFC.
For LaFlare, who currently possesses an undefeated 9-0 professional record, a victory would provide him with overwhelming potential entering 2014.
Few UFC fans know who he is, but a win over a guy like Court McGee would give him the recognition he deserves. Not to mention, he'd be doing the UFC a huge favor by filling in and putting on a good performance.
Since his arrival to the featherweight division back in August 2012, Nik Lentz has racked off three very impressive wins.
He has shown that dropping weight classes can often save a career, which is the exact success the 29-year-old will look to extend entering Saturday's UFC on FOX bout opposite top contender Chad Mendes.
As a former title threat to Jose Aldo, "Money" is simply a different animal than most featherweights gracing the UFC roster. He imposes his will, utilizes superior wrestling and has now found a consistent home for his hands.
If Lentz can somehow get past Mendes this weekend, it will be the biggest accomplishment of his career and maybe the biggest upset of 2013.
Even though Urijah Faber doesn't possess a UFC title, his weekend showdown with youthful phenom Michael McDonald could end up being a passing of the torch.
As one of the best veterans still winning fights under the Zuffa banner, Faber is a borderline icon to young fighters trying to find their way in today's mixed martial arts.
McDonald, who is coming off an impressive submission victory over the formidable Brad Pickett, used to be one of those guys.
If he can muster up the perfect game plan and innovative execution to defeat a long-tenured contender like Faber, "Mayday" will decisively secure his spot alongside the best bantamweights in the world.
What's more to gain than a UFC championship?
In most cases, nothing. It's what nearly every professional fighter strives for and thinks about throughout grueling training camps, weight cuts and in-cage wars.
However, in some instances, the one thing that supersedes winning a title is the opportunity to avenge defeat.
That's what Joseph Benavidez has the chance to do this weekend on Fox when he takes on flyweight king and pound-for-pound phenom Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson for the second time in 16 months.
Their first meeting saw the Team Alpha Male standout drop a split-decision loss to arguably the fastest fighter on the planet.
Even though Benavidez came up short last time, he'll get another chance to defeat Johnson this Saturday, capture UFC gold and change his life forever.
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