Two fighters who are on the UFC on Fox 16 card are simultaneously in intriguing and yet unenviable positions.

Fittingly, they’ll face either other.

The matchup of Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon versus “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi has interesting career-altering ramifications.

The fight itself has a good shot at being the showstealer as both have plenty to lose, though one would probably put more dollars on the Dillashaw/Barao title fight rematch main event being the most exciting showdown of the evening.

But Lauzon and Gomi could be a very entertaining bout.

The winner hugely helps himself stay moderately relevant in the deepest division in the organization.

The loser could become a gatekeeper, the guy who gets one or two more fights basically as fodder to judge the up-and-coming talent.

Or, very simply, the loser could be sent his pink slip.

Lauzon might still be best known for his shocking knockout of Jens Pulver nine years ago. That’s a testament, too, to the fact that he has lasted this long in the top league. Lauzon only 31 but is 11 years into his career and trending downward. He has lost three of his last five, most recently falling to Al Iaquinta this past January. More evidence that Lauzon is stumbling down the ladder is the fact that he fought just once in 2014 and twice in 2013.

On the flip side of the ‘falling’ argument is the fact that of three fights, two were wins and both came against favored opponents in Michael Chiesa and Mac Danzig. Lauzon has proven to be a great finisher, taking 23 of his 24 wins coming inside the distance and 18 of those coming via submission.

Across the cage will be Gomi, who arrived on the UFC scene with much fanfare after routing the opposition in Shooto, Pride and Sengoku. Not only was his winning but he was winning with style including his trademark fire-red hair. He hit the UFC stage with a loss to Kenny Florian, rebounded in grand fashion by spilling Tyson Griffin into the mat face-first, and has been alternately righting his ship and skidding along since 2011 to also-ran status. Most recently, which dates back to last September, he was stopped in the first by Myles Jury.

Gomi has won three of his last five, but like Lauzon has had a very tame schedule with only two fights in 2014 and one in 2013. Career-wise he does boast 19 finishes with 13 knockouts.

Neither Lauzon or Gomi will be able to put together winning streaks that will put them into conversations for tilts against top-10 guys like Edson Barboza or Tony Ferguson. But a win will certainly keep them employed in the big show. If it’s Lauzon, how about a matchup with Nate Diaz? If it’s Gomi, there’s a good scrap out there with Josh Thomson provided he stays in the mix.

No matter what is in store, first and foremost, both Lauzon and Gomi are in must-win scenarios, and with them squaring off, their fate is truly left in their own hands.

About The Author

Scott Zerr
Staff Writer

Scott joins The MMA Corner having spent the last 14 years in mixed martial arts as Director of Media & Fighter Relations for the Maximum Fighting Championship. He will provide The MMA Corner with insight on breaking news in the sport, plus an insider's perspective on business developments, matchmaking, fighter signings, and much more. In addition to his longtime work in MMA, Scott was a sports reporter before moving into media relations and marketing. After growing up and working in Edmonton, Alberta, Scott has since moved to Bakersfield, California to be with his wife Christina (an avid fight fan, thank goodness) and kids.