With so many fighters chomping at the bit to get a shot at the big show nowadays, the leeway for a losing streak in the UFC is dissipating. Two losses in a row puts a fighter’s roster spot at risk. Three consecutive defeats signify almost certain termination of the fighter’s contract.

Having an unwritten policy like this in place allows us to see how these athletes will perform with their backs against the wall. Will the risk of losing their contract cause them to wither, or, flourish under the pressure?

This weekend, when the UFC returns to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, three fighters will be in this “do or die” situation.

Joe Riggs

The 32 year-old Riggs will fight for the 58th time in his career this Saturday. “Diesel’s” initial UFC stint in 2005-2006 resulted in alternating wins and losses over an eight fight span. After ending up on the receiving end of a Diego Sanchez knockout, Riggs was released from the promotion and thrown into the local circuit. The Maine native worked hard to earn another chance to fight in the Octagon again, bouncing from promotion to promotion before landing a spot on Bellator’s reality show “FightMaster”. Riggs was crowned the champion of the show after defeating Mike Bronzoulis and subsequently elected to fight for the UFC once again.

Riggs’ second stint in the Octagon has not been pretty. He was forced to pull out of his first scheduled fight after accidentally shooting himself while cleaning a gun. Self-injury unfortunately has been a trend for Riggs lately, during his first fight back with the UFC against Ben Saunders, the MMA Lab product tweaked his neck while executing a takedown resulting in a loss via submission. Riggs was on the losing end of a decision in his last fight and now is in an 0-2 hole during his second stint with the UFC. “Diesel” has a chance to prove he still belongs this Saturday against Ron Stallings (1-1 in the UFC).

Loser of Clay Collard vs. Tiago Trator

Tiago Trator made his way to the UFC following a nine-fight win streak, seven of which did not reach the final bell. He was able to win an exciting UFC debut via decision against Akbarh Arreola thanks to non-stop aggression and effective striking. However, those traits were not enough in his second fight in which he was quickly dispatched in the first round against Mike De La Torre. If the Brazilian cannot outstrike “Cassius” Clay Collard Saturday, it might just be the end of the road for him.

The 22 year-old Clay Collard is 1-2 in the UFC and will fight professionally for the 22nd time on Saturday . He picked up an impressive win over Alex White at UFC 181, but that victory is sandwiched between two defeats to aggressive strikers Max Holloway and Gabriel Benitez. Granted, he has faced very tough competition so far in the octagon. However, the striking that earned him a 65-20 amateur boxing record has not been able to carry him to success against strikers that push the pace on him. This is a dangerous matchup for Collard, as pushing the pace is Trator’s bread-and-butter. “Cassius” Clay Collard must box like his nickname suggests he can on Saturday if he is to keep his spot on the UFC roster.

About The Author

Danny Doherty
Staff Writer

Danny is a sophomore at Ithaca College looking to acquire a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Media. He has been an avid fan of mixed martial arts since watching the UFC’s 100 Greatest Fights special on Spike TV back in 2009. Shortly following UFC 100, Danny’s Saturdays, and most of his free time, became dedicated to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In addition to writing for The MMA Corner, Danny works as a sports broadcaster and as a DJ for Ithaca College’s FM radio station, 92 WICB.