UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen - The Cut List

Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

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

The UFC's fourth event of April brings another big card with a lot of high-profile fighters. Like UFC on Fox 7, most of the card features fighters that have been doing well of late and aren't really in a lot of danger of losing their jobs. Nonetheless, my job is to look at the card and see who might be facing the axe, so that's what I'm going to do. Without further ado, here's the UFC 159 cut list.

Likely to be cut with a loss

Leonard Garcia - It's still a mystery to me (and just about everyone) how Garcia still has a job to begin with. His go-for-broke style is crowd-pleasing, but he has lost four fights in a row and is 2-6 in his UFC career over two stints. He's 3-7-1 in his last eleven, and all three victories were split decisions that could have gone either way. It seems like he's always fighting for survival, but the losses haven't mattered. Will this be the final breaking point if he picked up another L? I think it will.

Cody McKenzie - He's 2-3 in the UFC overall, but he's viewed as one of the lower-level fighters in the organization. His quick loss to Chad Mendes earned the scorn of Dana White, and it seems pretty obvious that a loss to Garcia will send him packing.

Nick Catone - A 3-4 record in the UFC isn't that bad, but he has two losses in a row and dropped his welterweight debut. Sometimes a drop in weight can earn you some slack in the UFC, but two straight losses in that weight class (and three overall) will mean that Catone will be shown the door if he can't win.

Kurt Holobaugh - He's in as a late replacement so that might earn him some slack, but a loss in his UFC debut combined with a loss to Healy in his last Strikeforce fight makes him a prime candidate to get released if he drops his bout with Siler.

Possibly cut with a loss

Pat Healy - Healy's an interesting case. He's clearly a UFC-level fighter, but his style isn't exactly exciting. He also got 27k to show for his last fight and a 15k win bonus, which is a large amount by the standards of a UFC lightweight. The deepest division in the UFC is not a good place to be if you can't win fights with a fairly big paycheck, and that might lead to the UFC releasing him if he loses to Miller. He deserves to stick around either way, but economics might catch up to him.

Yancy Medeiros - Like the guys above and below, his position as a debuting Strikeforce fighter might lead to him being one-and-done if he can't beat the tough Khabilov.

Ovince St. Preux and Gian Villante - OSP had a stellar 5-1 record in Strikeforce, which Villante was 3-2. Gian won his last three in a row though, and St. Preux picked up an impressive KO finish in his last bout. I find it pretty unlikely that either guy gets bounced with a loss here, especially since they're light heavyweights and don't have high salaries. But stranger things have happened.

Bryan Caraway - He's a late replacement and lost by debatable decision in his last fight, but two losses in a row could spell doom. Especially since he only has one bantamweight win.

James Head - A 2-2 record in the UFC (2-1 at welterweight) isn't that bad, but he was blown out by Mike Pyle in less than two minutes in his last bout and another finish might lead to Joe Silva thinking he's not worth keeping around.

Steven Siler - About the only credible reason to cut Siler would be that he would have two losses in a row if he lost. But he started his UFC career 3-0 and beat some good guys, so it's unlikely.

Likely safe regardless of the outcome

Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen - They're two of the biggest stars in the UFC. The only way I could possibly see either of them getting cut is if they failed a drug test. Otherwise - no chance.

Alan Belcher and Michael Bisping - Again, almost no chance. The UFC clearly still wants Bisping in the spotlight and while Belcher isn't as valuable to them, two losses in a row isn't going to affect a top-15 middleweight much in employment terms.

Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo - If they were going to cut Big Country, it would have been when he lost three out of four. Since then he has won two in a row and coached on The Ultimate Fighter. He's sticking around. And Kongo's in the same boat - he's 4-1-1 in his last six and he's in an extremely shallow division. He'll stay in the UFC as long as he's competitive.

Phil Davis and Vinny Magalhaes - Davis is a top guy at 205 pounds, and Vinny won his UFC re-debut in impressive fashion. They'll both still be employed regardless of the outcome on Saturday night.

Jim Miller - Miller's bout with Joe Lauzon was one of the best fights of 2012, and the guy is a stalwart of the top 10 in the lightweight division. There's no chance of him getting the boot.

Rustam Khabilov - He's coming off one of the more impressive UFC debuts in recent history and he's 15-1. They're going to give him another chance even if he loses.

Johnny Bedford - 2-0 in the UFC with two finishes. His overall record might not look too great, but he's good enough to hang in the UFC bantamweight division for a while.

Sara McMann and Sheila Gaff - McMann has the Olympic pedigree that will keep her around no matter what. Gaff is a little more unknown, but they're early in the process of building the division and I think that every lady is going to get at least two chances to prove herself in the UFC.

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