UFC 128: Urijah Faber and the Five Fighters With the Most To Lose on Fight Night
It's not normal for the fighters of the main event to not have the possibility to drop in rankings with a loss, but that's the situation for UFC 128 this Saturday.
If Jon Jones defeats Mauricio Rua, then people will say that the knee injury and layoff affected Rua too much, and that Jones is simply the future of the division.
If Rua defeats Jones, then fans will simply claim that Jones is too young and Rua too bad of a style match-up.
It's a win-win for the two fighters, as the winner will undoubtedly receive the praise after the fight.
But the five guys in this slide show? They have a ton to lose, should they walk out of the Octagon a defeated man.
5. Brendan Schaub
One of the few true prospects in the heavyweight division, Schaub has a chance one day to be great. A former Golden Glory champion, Schaub has the striking to trade with most of the division.
Schaub is also a former NFL player, making him one of the more athletic fighters out there.
But if he were to lose to Mirko Cro Cop on Saturday, you can kiss all of that goodbye. As a huge Mirko fan, it pains me to say that the man is done fighting. He doesn't throw combinations anymore. He refuses to let his hands go. He doesn't set up his kicks.
Basically everything that made Cro Cop, Cro Cop is gone.
If Schaub wants to one day contend for the title, he simply cannot lose to a guy like Mirko.
4. Edson Barboza
Edson Barboza is currently one of the highest rated prospects at 155 pounds. The Brazilian is a former muay thai champion with an improving ground game. He has gotten himself with a top camp and is doing everything he needs to become a top ten lightweight.
That would all come crashing down with a loss on Saturday night to Anthony Njokuani. In the shark pool that is the lightweight division in the UFC, one loss sets you pack immensely. One loss can send you from title contention to fringe top-15 fighter.
It's that cutthroat.
Barboza needs to win and win convincingly in order to maintain his spot as one of the top prospects in the division.
3. Nate Marquardt
Nate Marquardt consistently talks like he is a title contender in the 185 pound division. He needs an impressive win to back that talk up.
While Marquardt was originally slated to face Yoshihiro Akiyama on the card, but the Japanese fighter withdrew from the fight after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in his home country.
Dan Miller stepped in as his replacement.
Miller has recently stepped out of a three fight losing streak to Chael Sonnen, Demian Maia and Michael Bisping. He has responded with wins over John Salter and Joe Doerksen, but that hardly qualifies him as a top middleweight.
Marquardt needs to put Miller away to convince fans that he deserves to stay at the top of the division.
2. Jim Miller
Jim Miller is in a similar position as George Sotiropoulos was before his loss. Miller has reeled off six straight impressive victories at lightweight and is ridiculously close to a title shot.
If it wasn't for the draw between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, Miller may just be lined up for his shot at the belt.
But there was a draw, and Miller now faces Kamal Shalorus at UFC 128.
Remember when I mentioned one loss takes you from title contention to fringe top-15 fighter? That's exactly what Miller faces before him.
A win basically retains his place as the 3rd or 4th ranked lightweight in the UFC, while a loss drops him down into the teens.
That's a huge drop in rankings in just one fight.
1. Urijah Faber
Urijah Faber has been practically gifted a title shot. The UFC set him up with a credible, yet very beatable, opponent in Eddie Wineland. A win for Faber will almost assuredly give him a spot on The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 to coach alongside current bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
And once the season ends, the two would fight for the title. Faber is basically fighting to become a fan-favorite as a coach on the ultra popular reality show, and then receive a shot for a title.
If he loses, all of that goes out of the window. Suddenly the fans don't get to see him on television for eight straight weeks. Suddenly he doesn't get his title shot at 135 pounds. Faber would get back in line in a almost improving 135 pound class.
Needless to say, Faber has a lot to lose on Saturday, outside of his fight.