UFC 133 was not a banner event for Matt "The Hammer" Hamill. A resounding defeat at the hands of up-and-coming Swede Alexander Gustafsson saw to that.
A straight left toward the end of the second round was the proverbial camel's nose under the tent for Gustafsson—not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, The Mauler swarmed The Hammer with uppercuts and a ground-and-pound barrage that forced referee Dan Miragliotta to call the stoppage.
It was Hamill's second consecutive defeat, and what's worse, Hamill was not overly impressive in either effort. He has appeared slow at times and one or two-dimensional at others. In the increasingly dynamic world of mixed martial arts, a lackluster arsenal is the fastest ticket to irrelevance.
So what does the loss mean for Hamill. Is he in danger of being cut by the UFC?
I'm no soothsayer, but I've got a wallet and a mortgage here that says the answer is a ringing, definitive negatory.
Despite his disappointing string of late, doubts about Hamill's foothold in the UFC would appear rather short-sighted. After all, he is still 10-4 for his career. Losing to a strong prospect in Gustafsson, and before that to a former champion and current contender in Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, is not the world's most discouraging streak. And lest folks forget, this is the same Hamill who defeated Tito Ortiz less than a year ago, and earned Fight of the Night honors just last June after besting Keith Jardine.
Furthermore, Hamill scored a highlight-reel head-kick knockout on Mark Munoz just two years back. Munoz is now one of the rising stars in the UFC's middleweight division.
Releasing Hamill would also likely result in a public relations hit for the UFC. The hearing-impaired Hamill is a bona fide hero in the deaf community. I mean, for gosh sakes, a movie has been made about his life. It has won several film festival awards already and appears slated for wider release this fall. Do you really think Dana White wants to see headlines like "Deaf Fighter, Who Was Just Cut By The UFC, Subject of Inspiring Biopic?" I wouldn't.
Hamill could probably lose two more on top of these two and still enjoy job security. Maybe a drop in competition is in order. Perhaps a change of camps, and a tune-up in the striking and conditioning departments would be of benefit. But there is no way Hamill will be cut. His overall MMA track record—not to mention his inspiring personal story—will more than suffice to keep Matt Hamill in the Octagon for the foreseeable future.