Recently, the UFC's fighter spotlight has been the merger of the WEC's Middleweight and Light Heavyweight divisions, as well as the UFC's foray into Germany and returns to Ireland and England. The result: new foreign fighters that have the potential to shine. However, with the new blood, means some old blood has to go.
When it comes to being a star in MMA, the UFC is more stringent than other organizations when it comes to making a name for oneself. With the now defunct PRIDE FC, it didn't matter what a fighter's record was. They could be 10-15 but if they put on a good show and people came to see them, they would remain in an organization.
Not only does the UFC want crowd pleasers, but they want winners. The UFC's list of recent dismissals is evident of this.
Rameau Sokoudjou (Overall Record 5-3, UFC Record 1-2)
Here is a fighter who was supposed to be the UFC's next big thing at 205. Before his move to the UFC, he rattled off two first-round knockouts of Antonio Rodgerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona in PRIDE FC. Despite the hype, he did not perform and the UFC released him of his contract.
Jorge Gurgel (Overall Record 12-5, UFC Record 3-4)
A product of The Ultimate Fighter season two, Gurgel was one of the most hyped fighters in the show. Up until the show, Gurgel spotted a 9-1 record. Gurgel's fault is is reluctance to use is Jiu-Jitsu background and bang it out, resulting in six of his seven fights going to decision. His most recent loss, a unanimous decision against Aaron Riley, won Fight of The Night honors. Unfortunate for Gurgel, going 1-3 in his last four fights led to the UFC cutting him.
Jess Liaudin (Overall Record 12-11, UFC Record 2-3)
Jess led his UFC career in UFC 70 in Manchester and rattled off two straight wins, both in the first round. In his next bout, he lost a first round KO to Marcus Davis. Following the Davis loss, Jess dropped two decisions, one of them a Split Decision to Paul Taylor, which earned him Fight of the Night honors. The UFC doesn't support three straight losses, so he was also cut.
If the UFC continues its current trend of releasing fighter based on records instead of fan appeal and excitement, there are numerous other fighters in desperate need of an impressive win. Here are three that come to mind; they either need a win, or are soon on their way out.
Houston Alexander (Overall Record 8-4, UFC Record 2-3)
Alexander burst on to the UFC scene by defeating Keith Jardine (Jardine's first fight after scoring a TKO over Forrest Griffin) in less than a minute. In his next bout, he won by TKO in just over a minute. Despite his quick first round victories, his next three fights ended with losses in the first. His most recent, a first round submission loss to Eric Schaffer.
Brandon Vera (Overall Record 9-3, UFC Record 5-3)
The only fighter on this list with a positive UFC Record, Vera was tearing through the Heavyweight division before dropping two straight to former champion Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum. This prompted a drop to Light Heavyweight, where Vera won a lackluster decision to Reese Andy. Vera followed this performance with a Split Decision loss to Keith Jardine. Since his loss to Sylvia, Vera hasn't looked the same and needs a big win to show the UFC he still belongs.
Paul Taylor (Overall Record 9-4-1, UFC Record 2-3)
Taylor has won the UFC's Fight of The Night honor on three separate occasions. However, all of these fights ended in losses for Taylor. These three fights were against top level guys in Chris Lytle, Marcus Davis, and formerly undefeated Paul Kelly. His most recent fight was a, albeit controversial, Unanimous Decision. We will probably see Taylor once more, but he must win and in impressive fashion.
If anyone has any other leads on fighter's status within the UFC or if any of this information is incorrect, please message me.