I haven't written one of these things in a few weeks, so I have to get back into the swing of it. UFC 162 looks to be a pretty good card overall, but there are a couple of fighters on long losing streaks and a few others that might be in danger of the dreaded pink slip with a second loss in a row. Overall the card features 14 fighters that won their last bout and 8 that came up short in their last trip to the octagon. There are three fighters making their UFC debut, and two of them are meeting each other (Kennedy vs. Gracie). Anyway, let's get on with this.
Likely to be cut with a loss
Chris Leben - A loss to Craig would be three in a row and four in five fights. Most of us know the bad side for Leben - addiction, suspensions, etc. The UFC has shown a lot of loyalty to TUF 1 guys for the most part, but a loss to Craig would likely mean the end of the line for The Crippler. It also doesn't help that his salary is in the 51k/51k range.
Dave Herman - I'm not sure why he's still on the roster now. Three straight losses and a suspension where they sent him to weed rehab (does that even exist?). A thin HW division and exciting fights are probably all that saved him. But a loss here would be four in a row, and there's no way to justify keeping him around after that.
Rafaello Oliveira - Tractor did pick up a win in his last bout, but a loss to Barboza would drop him to 1-3 on this run in the UFC and 2-5 overall. He was also finished in his last two losses. He's the kind of guy that dominates outside the UFC but can't get much going inside the octagon. He's probably out with an L.
Brian Melancon - Strikeforce welterweight that went 1-1 there. There's nothing really of note on his resume. He also hasn't fought for close to two years. Some SF guys that have put up good fights (Bowling, Voelker) have stayed, but I don't think Melancon falls into that category.
Possibly cut with a loss
Tim Kennedy - Normally I'd have him on the safe list. He makes less than Gracie (55k/25k in his last bout) and he's got the military angle that they can promote. But he can't keep his foot out of his mouth when it comes to talking trash about the UFC. First he went after Joe Silva for matchmaking, then he started whining about money and had to back down from those statements. I can totally see the UFC saying 'you cause too much trouble' and cutting him if he loses. It's certainly no guarantee though, considering he's probably a top-20 middleweight even with a loss.
Gabriel Gonzaga - Napao's a strange case. He's a former title challenger that's been cut once already. They eventually brought him back and he won two in a row, then got roughed up by Travis Browne. He brings ridiculous BJJ skills to the cage, but he still folds when he gets hit hard. I almost made him a likely candidate for eviction, but the fact that he's a late replacement dropped him to a maybe for me. I think he deserves to stay either way, but I'm not Joe Silva.
David Mitchell - A loss to Pierce drops him to 1-3 in the UFC, but he did win his last fight. This is a tough one - against the right competition, Mitchell is a UFC-caliber WW. But he's had some tough tests in his run and Pierce is another. I think it's definitely possible that he gets cut with a loss, but I'd like to see him get another shot.
Likely safe regardless of the outcome
Anderson Silva - The most obvious call ever. Unless he does something completely crazy or decides to retire, there's absolutely no way the # 1 P4P guy in the sport gets cut.
Chris Weidman - The same goes for the title challenger here. He obviously doesn't have the resume Anderson has, but he's still a top-3 MW in the world and nothing short of a failed drug test is going to cost him his job.
Frankie Edgar - I can't remember the last time a guy on a three-fight losing streak ever made the safe list with no deliberation, but Edgar is that guy. Three close title fights, two of which he had a definite case for winning. It's too bad for Edgar, but this is the start of his path back to another shot. It would be completely shocking if he lost to Oliveira, but he'd definitely be given another shot.
Charles Oliveira - Yes, a loss would be two in a row for him. But that would even him out at 2-2 at featherweight, and it's tough to cut a guy coming off a loss to a former champ. Oliveira's rep as an action fighter will definitely help his case too. If he loses in like 40 seconds or something, I guess it's possible they'd bounce him. Or if he misses weight again. But I think he stays.
Roger Gracie - Come on, he's a Gracie. One with ridiculous credentials at that. The only iffy thing might be his salary - 47k/47k is a lot of money for a middleweight that's not winning. But people will tune in to see what all the fuss is about even if he loses to Kennedy, so he'll get another chance.
Mark Munoz and Tim Boetsch - Yes, they're both coming off losses and another would be two in a row. But in Munoz's case, he's been out for a long time and fought Weidman injured to save that show. In Boetsch's case, he got hurt in a fight he was winning (against Costa Philippou). Both are still good talents at MW and will be staying on the roster.
Andrew Craig - I was tempted to put him in the possible category because it would be his second loss in a row if he drops the fight to Leben. But he won his first two bouts, and his bout with Natal was great. He's probably not going to blanket Leben like Brunson did and should put on an exciting fight. That will be enough to give him another shot in my eyes.
Norman Parke - He won TUF Smashes at lightweight. TUF winners never get cut off of one loss.
Kazuki Tokudome - The UFC likes having competent Asian fighters on the roster and while they have been quick to drop lightweights with a loss, he won his first UFC bout and I think they'd hold onto him to give him a fight on their next Asian card at least.
Seth Baczynski - A loss here would mean two in a row, and this one would be against a debuting Strikeforce fighter. But he had four straight wins before that in the UFC with three finishes, so that should be enough to give him one more fight at least. As long as he doesn't get blown out, which seems unlikely.
Edson Barboza - The loss to Varner killed all the momentum he built up, but he's still one of the most exciting strikers at lightweight and he's 5-1 in the UFC with four FOTN bonuses. Even a shock loss to Oliveira won't cost him his job.
Mike Pierce - He's 8-3 in the UFC and his losses are all to guys who were elite at the time. He's won three in a row and is a top-15 guy in the division. But he has a rep as a boring grinder ala Jon Fitch. He still makes around a third of what Fitch did though, and he's a good gatekeeper, so he'll stick around even if he loses to Mitchell.