Who’s on the Hot Seat: UFC on Fox 5 Edition
We are just two days away from what could arguably be the most anticipated card of 2012. On Saturday night, December 8th, the UFC presents: UFC on Fox 5: Henderson vs. Diaz from Seattle, WA. The main card consists of four bouts where any of them could win Fight of the Night. Leading off the show will be a welterweight battle between Mike Swick and Matt Brown. Following those two we will see the return of BJ Penn to the Octagon for the first time in more than a year as he faces one of the brightest young fighters in all of mixed martial arts, Rory MacDonald.
In the co-main event we have another match-up pitting a young gun vs. a former champion as Alexander Gustafsson takes on Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. The main event will feature the second title fight on Fox as UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson will attempt to defend his title against Nate Diaz.
The undercard is loaded with great match-ups as well, but some of those fighters are facing the prospect of losing their spot in the promotion should they come up short. That is what we are here to discuss. Let’s take a look at the fighters who find themselves on The Hot Seat.
Scott Jorgensen– It was just two years ago that Jorgensen was facing then WEC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz for the right to enter the UFC as their first ever 135lb. division title holder. Cruz would go on to win by unanimous decision and Jorgensen was able to bounce back with two straight victories over Ken Stone and Jeff Curran. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old Utah native he has since fallen on hard times. It began at UFC 143 where he lost to current Interim UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao via unanimous decision.
He followed that up with a loss to Eddie Wineland at UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall. Jorgensen was knocked out late in the second round, but the performance was good enough to earn him and Wineland the Fight of the Night bonus. Three straight losses is a tough pill to swallow for any fighter so it is imperative that Jorgensen win on Saturday night or at the very least put on a great performance against John Albert if he wants to keep his job.
John Albert– After winning his UFC debut against Dustin Pague at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale via first round TKO things have gone south for Albert. He would face Ivan Menjivar at UFC 143 this past February and lost in the first round by submission. At 26-years-old Albert still has time on his side, but we all know what three losses in a row can do to a fighter in the UFC. Jorgensen presents a stiff test and a big step up in competition. A victory over a former title contender will not only keep Albert employed it will boost his confidence immensely.
Jeremy Stephens– Not only is Stephens looking at a potential third loss in a row he is also facing criminal charges for assault. That is not the best recipe for someone looking to keep their job in the world’s top mixed martial arts organization. We all know how exciting Stephens can be and he has the ability to end the fight in one punch at any time, but a loss to Yves Edwards Saturday night may be all she wrote for Lil Heathen.
His loss to Anthony Pettis at UFC 136 was by split decision and Stephens was surprised at how Pettis approached the fight choosing to take him down rather than keep the fight standing, but he can’t use that as an excuse for the loss. In May Stephens took on Donald Cerrone and lost by unanimous decision, but it was a very lopsided loss and it was reported after the fight that Cerrone had suffered a severe injury leading up to the bout making the loss look even worse. With criminal charges hanging over his head Stephens needs a win now more than ever.
I considered putting Edwards on this list, but he has only lost one fight in a row and I think the UFC will cut him some slack due to the problems Stephens had which forced this fight to be delayed a few months. He is 3-2 in his latest UFC run and brings an exciting style to the Octagon so he should be able to survive a loss here in the event he comes up short.