UFC 169: Who's on the Hot Seat?

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UFC 169: Who's on the Hot Seat?
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

This Saturday's UFC 169 will feature four fighters vying for world championships, but it will also include as many competitors who could be battling for their UFC jobs.

Headlining the fight card is a bantamweight title bout between Renan Barao and Urijah Faber, while a featherweight championship matchup between Jose Aldo and Ricardo Lamas will serve as the co-main attraction.

Behind those four elite fighters, though, even the most high-profile mixed martial artists appearing on the undercard could be in jeopardy of losing their positions on the UFC roster. As the UFC's first pay-per-view event in 2014 approaches, here are the fighters who will be feeling the heat on Saturday.

 

Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir

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In the upper echelon of the heavyweight division for years, Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir will battle to remain relevant title contenders this weekend.

Overeem made a big splash in his UFC debut, stopping former champion Brock Lesnar in the first round. Before his next fight, though, Overeem failed a drug test and was suspended nine months. The former Strikeforce champion has not had his hand raised since beating Lesnar more than two years ago.

Since earning a title shot with a submission win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mir has lost three straight fights. Like Overeem, the former UFC titleholder has not picked up a win since December 2011.

Because they have such big names, Overeem or Mir may be kept around even with a loss at UFC 169. Still, neither fighter can feel comfortable should his losing streak continue on Saturday.

 

John Lineker

Do you remember Anthony Johnson?

He was released from the UFC roster after missing weight three times over a period of four years.

If John Lineker fails to hit 126 pounds before UFC 169, it'd be the third time he'll have missed weight in only six months. Moreover, it would be the fourth time the Brazilian missed weight for a UFC bout in the past two years.

With four straight victories, Lineker is a legitimate contender in the flyweight division. However, his victories have been tainted by his inability to compete at the same weight as his opponents. 

Should he miss his mark at Friday's weigh-ins, Lineker will likely either be forced to move to the bantamweight division or be released from the world's top MMA promotion.

 

Nick Catone

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In a more typical must-win situation, Nick Catone has lost two in a row and can't afford to suffer another defeat this weekend.

Before sitting out through 2013, Catone was stopped by Chris Camozzi and TJ Waldburger. "The Jersey Devil" decided to return to middleweight following his loss to Waldburger at 170 pounds, and he'll meet Tom Watson on Saturday.

Although Catone once defeated the highly ranked Costa Philippou, he hasn't won since that outing in March 2011. With a 3-4 UFC record, Catone needs to get back to even in order to continue competing inside the Octagon.

 

Neil Magny

While The Ultimate Fighter veteran Neil Magny earned a longer term on the UFC roster by beating Jon Manley in his official debut, he hasn't done much to prove he belongs since then.

In his second and third UFC bouts, Magny was submitted by Sergio Moraes and beaten by Seth Baczynski in a decision. At UFC 169, he'll take a step down in competition and welcome Gasan Umalatov to the Octagon.

While it is a matchup that gives Magny a chance to get back on track, it is also one that will essentially guarantee his release from the UFC should he come away with a third consecutive loss.

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