UFC 167 is nearly here, and the card for the 20th anniversary show is strong as expected. It's not quite the top-to-bottom unreal card that UFC Fight Night 26 was though, and I'm kind of disappointed in that. 10 of the 24 fighters enter the card coming off a loss, with two on multi-fight losing streaks. There are two new debuting fighters and one making his way back to the organization once again. There aren't many guys that are in danger of losing their jobs though, that's for sure. So don't expect an exhaustive list in the first two categories.
Likely to be cut with a loss
Edwin Figueroa - He's 2-3 in the UFC and on a two-fight losing streak. His wins are over Alex Caceres, who lost 2 points for kicking him in the stones. And over Jason Reinhardt. It's pretty obvious that he's on his way out with a loss to Perez.
Possibly cut with a loss
Josh Koscheck - I had him on this list for his last fight and here he is again. He fits perfectly into the mold of a guy they'd want to shed from the roster, in the vein of Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami - he's expensive (78k/78k for his last fight), he's a former title challenger with his best days behind him, and he's not a draw (any more). When was the last time Josh Koscheck was on a card and you didn't see 93 interviews with him and a bunch of smack talk? He's completely off the radar. And with a third straight loss, he might very well be off the roster. About the only thing saving him is the Chris Leben defense - he's from TUF 1, which makes a few select guys seemingly bulletproof. Is that enough to save his hide if he loses? Or worse, if he gets finished again? I'd say no.
Rick Story - I personally believe Story is a top-20 welterweight that should definitely stick around even if he loses to Ebersole. But a loss would drop him to 2-5 in his last seven, with wins over the likes of Quinn Mulhern and Brock Jardine. He'd still be 8-6 overall though, and does have that signature win over Hendricks to point at on his resume. And he fights cheap for someone that's been in the organization so long. So I'd err on the side of safety, but you never know.
Anthony Lapsley - Could he be a one-and-done fighter? I don't really think so, but welterweight is deep and he's 33. Getting finished by High quickly might mean a short stay in the organization.
Likely safe regardless of the outcome
Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks - The only possible way you don't see GSP in the cage again is if he suffers a major injury or he retires. Hendricks will be around for a long time whether he claims the title or not.
Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler - Rory's one of their top fighters at 170 and Lawler's career resurgence since he came back to the UFC at welterweight has been fun to watch. It would take something crazy for either of them to get released.
Tyron Woodley - He's 1-1 in the UFC thus far and his fight with Jake Shields was horrible. Dana White thought he won that bout though, and they're still high on him as a potential challenger in the division. They're not going to cut him with a loss to a vet like Koscheck.
Tim Elliott and Ali Bagautinov - I'm surprised they got the PPV opening slot, but I'm very happy about it. They've both looked great in the UFC thus far and this should be a damn good fight. Even if one gets blasted to high heaven, they'll get another chance.
Donald Cerrone and Evan Dunham - Despite having uneven records of late, both men are popular and exciting. They have ten UFC bonuses between them, and a two-fight losing streak is not going to cut short their UFC careers. Plus, Cerrone says he's going to 145 after this fight.
Ed Herman and Thales Leites - Herman did them a solid by fighting in Strikeforce, and picked up a fight of the night bonus (and a win) the last time out. Leites just returned with a good win over Tom Watson. Both will get another opportunity if they come up short.
Jason High - His impressive win over James Head puts him on the exempt list even if he loses to the debuting fighter. He'd be 1-3 in the UFC with a loss, but the Brenneman fight was long ago and he's still a quality talent.
Will Campuzano and Sergio Pettis - Two flyweights fighting at bantamweight. Campuzano's initial WEC/UFC run wasn't that great, but he's been excellent at flyweight since the drop and he'll get a shot in that division if he loses here. And it should go without saying that Pettis will be around for a while.
Gian Villante and Cody Donovan - LHW is really thin and despite the fact that these two are unlikely to be in the title hunt soon, they are generally entertaining fighters. Plus Villante got eyepoked in his last fight, which was a bad way to go out. They'll both be back.