UFC on Fox 7: Henderson vs. Melendez - The Cut List


A few fighters will need a win to stay in the UFC on Saturday night in San Jose. Who are they?

Most of us know by now that the UFC is in the midst of a big fighter purge. Dana White has stated that the organization will need to cut up to 100 fighters in the next few months, which makes every fight that much more important for the contestants. With that in mind, similar to the last few events, I'm going to go through the list of fighters scheduled for UFC on Fox 7 and assess whether they should fear for their jobs with a loss on Saturday night in San Jose.

Likely to be cut with a loss

No one. Seriously. This card is so deep that there isn't a single fighter on a multiple-fight losing streak. And only five of the 24 fighters lost their last bout. I can't even remember the last time that happened. Unless something crazy occurs, no one is truly, 100% fighting for their jobs in the HP Pavilion. I'm sure some on the next list are feeling the heat, but even they would have solid reasons to stick around with a loss.

Possibly cut with a loss

Jorge Masvidal - Yes, he did win his last fight in Strikeforce. And he was 5-1 overall in Strikeforce with his only loss coming to champion (and UFC on Fox 7 headliner) Melendez. The only thing that might work against him is his salary. He made $23,000 to show and $23,000 to win in his last two fights, and that's on the high end for non-ranked UFC lightweights. A loss to a relative unknown like Means could lead to Masvidal getting cut for financial reasons.

Anthony Njokuani - He has a lot of things going for him - an exciting style, long-term employment under the Zuffa banner, and a manageable salary (14k to show for his last bout). But he lost his last bout to Rafael dos Anjos, is only 2-3 in the UFC right now, and all of his UFC fights have gone to a decision. I find it unlikely that they'd cut him unless Bowling knocks him out early, but you never know.

Roger Bowling - He's coming off a loss but it was to the last Strikeforce welterweight champion, Tarec Saffiedine. He made 10k for that fight. He's dropping to lightweight, which seems like it's going to be very hard for him. A bad loss could see him get the door, especially combined with his middling 4-3 record in Strikeforce.

Clifford Starks - Starks hasn't fought in over 14 months since a loss to Ed Herman. He's 1-1 in the UFC and with the recent infusion of TUF middleweights, mid-card guys on losing streaks might be on the chopping block.

Yoel Romero - Romero hasn't fought in even longer, last competing in September 2011 where he was KO'd by Rafael Cavalcante. He looked terrible in that fight, and has now dropped to 185 pounds. I was actually surprised the UFC was willing to give him a chance. At almost 36 years old, another loss could mean they'll give up on him quickly.

Likely safe regardless of the outcome

The entire main card - None of these guys have anything to worry about in terms of job security. Ben Henderson and Gilbert Melendez are fighting for a title, and the only drastic thing I could see after this bout is a possible move to 145 for Melendez. Frank Mir is a UFC mainstay and even if Daniel Cormier lost, he's still in the top 10. Nate Diaz just had a title shot, and Josh Thomson is a top-15 lightweight at worst. Finally, Matt Brown has won four in a row and Jordan Mein is stepping in on short notice after an excellent UFC debut. Basically, they're all good to go.

Chad Mendes and Darren Elkins - Mendes is ranked number two in the world at featherweight, just behind champion Jose Aldo. Elkins has won five in a row since he dropped to 145. A loss here will hurt one of them in terms of divisional standing, but won't be a threat to their job.

Francis Carmont and Lorenz Larkin - Carmont isn't exactly Mr. Exciting, but he's 4-0 in the UFC. Larkin was tapped as a challenger for the Strikeforce middleweight title before the promotion was closed, and is still technically undefeated. Neither man has anything to worry about on this front.

Ramsey Nijem and Myles Jury - Nijem rebounded from his TUF 13 Finale loss with three straight victories, while Jury is 2-0 in the UFC and undefeated overall. Yet again, there's nothing to talk about in terms of employment issues.

Joseph Benavidez and Darren Uyenoyama - Both are top-ten flyweights, and Benavidez could earn another title shot with a win here. Same old. Next.

Tim Means -2-0 in the UFC and coming off a 66-second TKO win. He's facing a tough opponent in Masvidal, and a loss won't be held against him.

T.J. Dillashaw - He's taking the fight on short notice, won impressively just over a month ago, and is on a three-fight winning streak. Oh, and he was a TUF finalist. No chance of the axe here either.

Hugo Viana - 2-0 in the UFC, 1-0 at bantamweight, and pulled off one of the better KO's of 2012 in his last fight. He'll have a home in the UFC for a long time to come, even if the Team Alpha Male product gets the best of him Saturday night.

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