After losing to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 167, Johny Hendricks will have another chance to win the welterweight championship on Saturday. Now that the Canadian has vacated his title, Hendricks will battle Robbie Lawler in a bout to determine the new 170-pound king.
With the welterweight class entering a new era, UFC 171 could also produce the first challenger for the winner of the fight between Hendricks and Lawler.
The co-main event features Carlos Condit, who earned Fight of the Night honors for a past meeting with Hendricks, and Tyron Woodley. Also, a resurgent Jake Shields will attempt to earn his second shot at UFC gold by beating former Bellator MMA champion Hector Lombard.
All the aforementioned welterweights are safe from being released from the UFC roster, but multiple UFC 171 competitors could be in jeopardy. Here are the fighters who will be sitting on the hot seat heading into this weekend.
Following an 0-2 UFC run as a bantamweight a few years ago, Will Campuzano went out and captured the Legacy FC Flyweight Championship.
When the UFC added a 125-pound division, Campuzano's title made him a fighter worth targeting.
However, Campuzano was ultimately brought back as a replacement opponent for 135-pounder Sergio Pettis. After losing to Pettis at UFC 167, Campuzano will be returning to the flyweight division for a bout with Justin Scoggins, who is actually coming off a win in his first UFC outing.
Since the flyweight division is still shallow, Campuzano could be retained even with another loss. That said, he'll at least need to entertain and prove he can be an asset to the UFC's 125-pound class.
With a 1-1 UFC record, Bubba McDaniel might be able to get away with a loss on Saturday.
That said, a loss to Sean Strickland at UFC 171 would be very damaging. Aside from being a UFC newcomer, Strickland took this fight on very short notice as a replacement for an injured Tor Troeng.
If McDaniel follows a win over fellow The Ultimate Fighter 17 contestant Gilbert Smith with two straight losses and looks bad against an unproven fighter in Strickland, well, we've seen more surprising cuts.
Daniel Pineda and Robert Whiteford
Scottish featherweight Robert Whiteford was not eased into UFC competition.
At UFC Fight Night 30, Whiteford was welcomed to the Octagon by Jimy Hettes. One of the more talented young grapplers on the UFC roster, Hettes handed Whiteford a submission loss in the second round.
If Whiteford falls to 0-2 inside the Octagon with a loss against Daniel Pineda on Saturday, he could be forced to return to regional competition.
Pineda's UFC job may also be in danger heading into the weekend. He's lost three of his past four fights, only beating Justin Lawrence within the past two years. Make that four out of five with a potential loss to Whiteford, and the UFC brass may decide Pineda hasn't had enough recent success to stick around with the organization.
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