The old saying goes “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

At UFC on FX 8, that saying should apply to two men coming over from Strikeforce to make their UFC debuts with a lot riding on the line.

For Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, his fight with Chris Camozzi marks a huge leap into the UFC after years fighting in the second biggest promotions MMA had to offer. A former Dream and Strikeforce middleweight champion, Souza was seen as one of the premier middleweights outside the UFC and finally gets his chance to step into the limelight.

Souza should get an edge fighting Camozzi, who has long been one of the UFC’s middle-of-the-way 185-pound fighters. Camozzi has never seen the inside of the top-10 middleweight rankings and likely resides outside of the top 25 middleweights in the world, yet he possesses the threat of the guy who has nothing to lose. Camozzi should easily be dispatched by Souza, and considering that Camozzi took the fight on very short notice, it should be a cake walk.

But this alone should be enough to show that Souza has a lot to lose at UFC on FX 8. Jacare’s top-10 status is heavily risked against the underdog, Camozzi. Souza has the chance to make a run at middleweight with a few wins and with his jiu-jitsu skills that have earned him 13 wins by submission.

It is Souza’s UFC debut and his debut party should go off with a bang, not a thud. With a loss to a fighter of Camozzi’s stature, Souza can kiss that middleweight run goodbye, and heck, with a disappointing enough debut, he could be one of the fighters cut right out of the UFC. If Souza is making the same money as he did from his last fight against Ed Herman ($72,500 to show), why keep him around at if he can’t get past the likes of Camozzi? That’s especially true since the UFC has been cracking down on its overpaid fighters and cutting them after one loss.

Souza isn’t alone. It’s a difficult choice between him and Luke Rockhold as the fighter with the most to lose at UFC on FX 8. Much like Souza, Rockhold has a title shot coming to him with a win over Vitor Belfort. UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has talked about a fight with Rockhold, even citing that it may be the best fight out there for him. Whether or not Silva can get through Weidman is a different story, but Rockhold was the final Strikeforce middleweight champion and was highly touted coming over to the UFC.

Not only that, but Rockhold wanted this chance to prove himself against the UFC’s best, clamoring for the shot against the top dogs after each fight. Now he has that shot, but Belfort, especially with his high level of striking, is a force to be reckoned with. Belfort is Rockhold’s toughest test to date and all the hype that came with Rockhold is riding on this fight. A loss shows that Rockhold wasn’t ready for primetime status and will send him to the back of the line at middleweight. A disappointing enough loss and Rockhold will go from being the main event to being a prelim fighter.

Rockhold isn’t going to get a fight in the UFC against someone on a skid, like he did with Keith Jardine in Strikeforce. He also has lots of money waiting for him with a win. It pays to be a former champion from a promotion swallowed up by the UFC, especially one who has been hyped by Anderson Silva as his best possible fight at middleweight. Just ask Chris Weidman—it’s a much easier path to ride the hype and take one big win to prove Silva right, rather than to work your way through a lot of tough guys and have to fight tooth and nail to get your title shot.

Even with a loss to Belfort, Rockhold’s age—he’s 28—saves him from the possible fate of Souza, who checks in at 33 years old. With a heap of potential and many good years ahead of him, Rockhold is 100 percent safe from the chopping block.

But with his title aspirations, finally getting his big league fight and the money that comes with this win, Rockhold has just as much to lose as Souza. These two Strikeforce fighters enter UFC on FX 8 with a lot on the line. All they have to do to avoid losing it all is to win. After all, winning really is the only thing.

Photo: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (Jerry Chavez/The MMA Corner)