UFC 138 Fight Card: Which Fighter Has the Most to Gain

Matthew GoldsteinContributor IIINovember 5, 2011

Photo: Zuffa, LLC
Photo: Zuffa, LLC

UFC 138 takes place this Saturday, Nov. 5, in Birmingham, England.

Though the fight card is full of UFC newcomers and up-and-comers whom have absolutely nothing to lose, one fighter in particular stands alone with the most to gain from a win on Saturday night.

Fighting in the main event, which happens to be the first five-round non-title fight in the UFC, Mark Munoz is a middleweight contender quickly on the rise.

With a 6-1 middleweight UFC record (he's 6-2 overall in the UFC) and a three-fight win streak dating back to November 2010, Munoz is a top five middleweight poised to enter the title contention discussion.

Though it's pretty much a given that Chael Sonnen is up next for Anderson Silva, a win over Chris Leben should all but guarantee Munoz the subsequent shot at Silva's title.

"The Filipino Wrecking Machine" is one of the few top-ranked middleweights that haven't already faced Silva, and Joe Silva will need fresh faces to put in against the champ, especially considering only Chael Sonnen's performance has warranted a rematch thus far.

Though two other fighters on the UFC 138 card could also move themselves into title contention in their weight class—Brad Pickett and Renan Barao—none of them have the same momentum coming into this fight as Munoz.

Though Pickett and Barao are both talented bantamweights that could provide a challenge to Dominick Cruz, neither of them can match Munoz's current winning streak over quality opponents. Either of them would likely need another win in 2012 in order to be truly "in the mix."

Of course, all fighters on any given card need a win in order to further their fighting career, but none of them have as much to gain from a single win tonight as Mark Munoz.