For a fighter, making it to the UFC is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication; countless hours of blood, sweat and tears being poured on to training mats. 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 the UFC heads to the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va., for UFC Fight Night: Mendes vs. Lamas, six fighters will be fighting to stay in the UFC.

Loser of Justin Jones vs. Ron Stallings

Kicking off the preliminary card is a middleweight bout between Jones and Stallings. Both men came up short in their UFC debuts and now they find themselves fighting to stay in the promotion. Fighters who go 0-2 in their first two bouts generally don’t get a third opportunity.

Loser of Gray Maynard vs. Alexander Yakovlev

Not too long ago, Maynard was one of the top lightweight fighters in the world and he was challenging Frankie Edgar for the UFC lightweight title. But three TKO losses in a row have him hanging on by a thread to his UFC career. Maynard’s opponent Saturday night is also in a must win situation. Yakovlev is 0-2 inside the Octagon and a third loss would send him back home to mother Russia.

Loser of Liz Carmouche vs. Lauren Murphy

The UFC women’s bantamweight division isn’t the deepest, but the loser of Carmouche vs. Murphy is still in danger of getting a pick slip Saturday night. Murphy probably has a little for leeway given that her only career loss came by way of split decision at her UFC debut, but losing two in a row is never how you want your Octagon career to start. Carmouche on the other hand has more name value, but her Octagon record is an abysmal 1-3. Another loss would make it three in a row and it would bring her overall UFC record to 1-4; that’s just not good enough to stick around.

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.