The last time we saw Ben "Killa B" Saunders inside the Octagon was back in January, he suffered a knockout loss to Patrick Cote, which ended his three-fight winning streak. Unfortunately for Saunders, even with his successful record in his second stint in the UFC, it wasn't enough to warrant another fight with the promotion.
Jason Floyd of The MMA Report confirmed with UFC officials that Saunders is not under contract with them. Saunders is scheduled to fight fellow ex-UFC fighter Jacob Volkmann on September 9th at Fight Night at The Island in Volkmann's home state of Minnesota.
Saunders (19-7-2) was previously released from the UFC in 2010 following consecutive losses to Jon Fitch and Dennis Hallman, which was part of a 1-3 losing stretch. The 33-year-old spent 2011-2013 under the Bellator MMA banner, where he reached two tournament finals, only to suffer KO losses to Douglas Lima. Saunders was released from Bellator after the 2nd Lima defeat, and went on to sign with Titan Fighting Championships, but got the late-notice call to make his UFC return in August 2014. He not only got the victory against Chris Heatherly, but he pocketed a $50,000 performance bonus for his omoplata finish, which remains the only successful one in UFC history. Saunders would later defeat Joe Riggs after Riggs injured his neck, then edge out Kenny Robertson in an entertaining split decision in July 2015. Cote stopped Saunders' winning run in the 2nd round at UFC Boston.
The decision to let Saunders go does come as a bit of a surprise, and it will certainly be disappointing to the Bloody Elbow community, which Saunders has been a part of for many years. Just this year alone we've seen several fighters chopped from the UFC roster despite either coming off of wins or posting above-.500 records. Lucas Martins was let go despite defeating Rob Whiteford, who was also cut. Jared Rosholt was released despite a 6-2 UFC record, and Kevin Souza's contract was not renewed after a 3-1 start to his Octagon career.
Also of note, it appears as if flyweight Danny Martinez (18-7) is also no longer in the UFC. Having lost his first 3 fights in the promotion, he defeated Richie Vaculik at UFC 193 to improve to 1-3, but is otherwise slated to take a short-notice fight on a Combate Americas card on Thursday, August 11th.