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 MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas to crown a new Ultimate Fighter at The Ultimate Fighter 21 Final, six fighters will be fighting for their jobs.

Loser of Darrell Montague vs. Willie Gates

If there’s one division in the UFC that needs all the bodies it can get, it’s the flyweight division. With champion, Demetrious Johnson, destroying the competition left and right, the division needs fighters to mold into either contenders or building blocks. But even the building blocks need to win from time to time. Montague and Gates are a combined 0-3 in the Octagon. Even though all of those losses came to top 10 fighters, they must win here to remain in the organization.

Loser of Dan Miller vs. Trevor Smith

It’s been over two years since Miller last stepped foot inside the Octagon, but having lost three of his last four bouts immediately puts him in danger of being released. His opponent Smith isn’t in a much better place either with a 2-3 UFC record. The UFC welterweight division isn’t as deep as it once was, but there’s still enough talent at the top to warrant a mid-level fighter being released following back-to-back losses.

Jerrod Sanders

Sanders earned his spot in the UFC following an impressive 12 fight win streak on the regional circuit. But he has since gone 0-2 in the Octagon; losing both bouts by first round stoppage. Sanders needs a win in the worst possible way here because at 34, he likely will not get another opportunity.

Angela Magana

A cast member on The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned Magana was the 12 seed in the championship tournament. After losing by TKO in the prelims, Magana was still signed by the UFC and given an opportunity to compete in the Octagon. In her first bout against fellow cast mate Tecia Torres, Magana lost via unanimous decision. Now riding a three fight losing streak – not including her loss on TUF – Magana desperately needs a victory.

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.