Since joining the UFC back in 2009, Nogueira has gone 2-2, dropping his last two bouts to Ryan Bader and Phil Davis.
While not an official UFC rule, the promotion has been known to cut most fighters who lose three fights in a row, with few exceptions.
So, is tonight a must-win situation for Nogueira?
If he wants to keep his job, probably.
If Nogueira loses tonight, not only will it be his third straight loss, but he looked unimpressive in his last victory against Jason Brilz and has not proved himself to be a big draw in the UFC.
There is a chance that the UFC will keep Nogueira around—even with a loss tonight—based on his legacy and what he's accomplished in the sport, but that's not something he can afford to bank on.
Looking passed the issue of employment, tonight's fight is absolutely must-win for Nogueira, if he has any interest in getting into the title picture before he retires.
Nogueira is 35 years old and on the decline so, at most, he has two years left before retirement.
He's already completely removed from the title picture, so if he wants a chance to win the gold before bowing out of MMA, he must start winning immediately.
Nogueira needs to beat Ortiz tonight.