UFC 146: Dan Hardy and 7 UFC Stars Who Are Dangerously Close to Getting Cut

Vince Carey@@vcareymmaContributor IMay 23, 2012

UFC 146: Dan Hardy and 7 UFC Stars Who Are Dangerously Close to Getting Cut

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    When he squares off against Duane Ludwig this weekend at UFC 146, there is little doubt that Dan Hardy will be fighting for his job.

    If Hardy fighting for his job sounds familiar, it probably is. Most fans expected to see Hardy get his pink slip after losing to Chris Lytle last fall, as it was his fourth straight UFC loss.

    Instead, UFC Owner Lorenzo Fertitta decided to give Hardy one last chance and since Lorenzo likes guys that “WAR,” it may be a good idea for Hardy to put on a show against Ludwig.

    While Hardy is the most obvious fighter that is dangerously close to being sent to the unemployment line, the UFC is rife with fan favorites and aging legends that are quickly entering the twilight of their UFC careers.

    Any of the guys on this list could be out of work if they don’t emerge victorious in their next bout, and for some it may mean the end of their career entirely.

Wanderlei Silva

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    One of the most popular fighters in the history of the sport, it’s going to be a sad day for MMA fans when Wanderlei Silva finally hangs up his gloves.

    Unfortunately for us, it may happen sooner than anyone expected.

    Silva has struggled to string together any sort of consistency during his current UFC run, and his tendency to end up unconscious is eventually going to cost him his job.

    Although he is coming off of a win against Cung Le at UFC 139, Silva’s roster spot is far from safe if he loses next month to Vitor Belfort.

    With the UFC working hard to prove that MMA isn’t as savage as it’s been portrayed in the media, it’s only a matter of time before Dana White starts forcing guys that have been knocked out as often as Silva to retire.

Leonard Garcia

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    The days of using Leonard Garcia as the poster boy for controversial decisions may soon be over.

    Garcia is a fan favorite and certainly fits the bill as one of those fighters that “WAR,” but the UFC can’t keep him around if he doesn’t start winning some fights.

    Currently riding a two-fight losing streak, with losses in three of his last four, Garcia is likely a loss away from having to earn his roster spot back on the regional scene.

    It will be tough for Garcia to ever become a contender with his go-for-broke style, but he can still be a valuable and entertaining asset for the UFC’s featherweight division if he can find a way to grab a victory in his next fight against Matt Grice at UFC on FX 3.

Miguel Torres

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    Over the last few years, Miguel Torres has gone from one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world to a middle-of-the-pack bantamweight trying to hold on to his job.

    Torres isn’t quite in the “win or go home” position that many of the other men on this list are, but after losing two of his last three and briefly getting cut by the UFC early this year, it’s easy to see why Torres should be nervous.

    Dana White gave Torres a second chance in the organization after cutting him for posting an offensive joke on Twitter in January, but the former WEC bantamweight champion fell short in his UFC return against Michael McDonald at UFC 145 last month.

    If Torres is unable to come out and at least put on an exciting fight in his next bout, we may see one of the WEC’s most popular fighters looking for work by the end of the year.

Yoshihiro Akiyama

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    If there is anyone in the UFC in as much danger of losing their job as Dan Hardy, it has to be Yoshihiro Akiyama.

    “Sexyama” has been given a murderer’s row of opponents since entering the Octagon back at UFC 100, and after he earned a controversial split decision over Alan Belcher that night, he’s been winless.

    Losses to top contenders like Vitor Belfort, Michael Bisping and Jake Shields usually won’t cost you your job, but Akiyama has had the misfortune of fighting them all in a row and is currently on a four-fight losing streak.

    After losing his welterweight debut to Shields in a close fight at UFC 144, it’s pretty clear that “Sexyama” is in dire need of a victory in his next fight, and it would be kind of the UFC to throw him in there with another struggling fighter in his next bout.

Jason "Mayhem" Miller

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    After getting completely outclassed by Michael Bisping at The Ultimate Fighter 14 finale last December, Jason Miller is lucky to have a job.

    UFC President Dana White made it clear that he was disappointed in “Mayhem’s” performance during that bout, and was reluctant to give the former host of Bully Beatdown another shot in the UFC.

    Eventually, it was decided that Miller was going to get one last shot inside the Octagon, and he’ll be fighting CB Dollaway on the FX prelims prior to UFC 146.

    Mayhem had a tough time getting confirmation that he was going to get a second chance inside the UFC after his last loss, so a second consecutive defeat would likely mean the end of his UFC career.

Mike Swick

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    It’s been two long years since Mike Swick has been healthy enough to fight inside the Octagon.

    Once a top contender for the welterweight title, Swick fell upon hard times before his plethora of injuries, losing back-to-back fights to Dan Hardy and Paulo Thiago in his last two UFC bouts.

    Finally looking to get back into the cage on eventually into title contention, Swick is set to make his return this August against DaMarques Johnson at UFC on FOX 4. If he is unable to secure the victory, the UFC may decide to cut their losses and use his roster spot on a guy who can stay healthy on a consistent basis.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

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    Most people assumed it would be a long time until we saw Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira inside the Octagon again following his loss to Frank Mir at UFC 140.

    After falling victim to one of the most brutal submissions in UFC history, it looked like it was going to be a long road back into the cage for “Minotauro.”

    Somehow Nogueira has already recovered, and he’s set to fight Cheick Kongo at UFC 149 in July. This may not be the most important fight of Nogueira’s career, but a win is desperately needed for the Pride legend to keep his job.

    Nogueira hasn’t looked terrible as of late, but he has certainly fallen off a bit over the last few years and his once-iron chin is slowly becoming glass.

    A loss to Kongo might not be the end of the line for “Big Nog,” but it could spell the beginning of the end.