As a fighter making it to the UFC is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication…unless you are a WWE star off course. But once they make it to the UFC the hard work doesn’t stop; in fact things get more difficult for the fighters.

The UFC by nature breeds a competitive atmosphere but that atmosphere is amplified by the fact that fighters are given only a handful of opportunities to prove they belong. Lose your UFC debut and you are lucky to get a second chance. Lose back to back bouts and your back is against the wall. And fighters who lose three straight are almost always guaranteed their release from the organization.

When UFC heads to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA for UFC 184: Rousey vs. Zingano, six fighters will be fighting to stay in the UFC.

Valmir Lazaro

At 12-3 with nine career knockouts, Nova Uniao fighter Lazaro is a fighter with a lot of potential. But after dropping a unanimous decision to James Vick in his UFC debut, he already finds himself fighting with his back against the wall. The UFC lightweight division is dog eat dog and going 0-2 to start is a great way to ensure a trip back down to the regional circuit.

Ruan Potts

South African fighter Potts came to the UFC looking to prove that South African MMA was on the rise. But in his first two outings, he has been knocked out twice and now he is handing on by a thread. The heavyweight division is pretty thin so a loss wouldn’t guarantee his release, but he needs to be competitive. If he doesn’t show something he will not be coming back to the Octagon.

Norifumi Yamamoto

“Kid” Yamamoto is one of the biggest names in Japanese MMA and he is a legend in the sport. But his time has passed and this bout on Saturday will likely be his swan song. Yamamoto is coming off of a two-year layoff and he is an abysmal 0-3 inside the Octagon.

Mark Munoz

There was a time when Munoz was one of the best middleweight fighters in the world. With an elite wrestling pedigree and vicious knockout power, Munoz dominated mid-level competition. But he could never quite get over the hump against the UFC elite. At 37 and coming off of back-to-back first round stoppage losses, the writing is on the wall for Munoz.

Loser of Jake Ellenberger vs. Josh Koscheck

In the third bout of the main card, two former welterweight contenders will battle it out to remain in the UFC. Ellenberger and Koscheck were once views at top talents in the welterweight

division but both men are riding three-fight losing streaks. There’s just too much depth at welterweight to keep both so the loser has to go.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.