With the UFC’s light heavyweight division as stacked as it’s ever been, several veteran fighters may be looking for a new line of work if they are unable to cash in on upcoming opportunities.
According to UFC President Dana White, former champions Tito Ortiz and Lyoto Machida are both in “must-win” situations in their upcoming fights.
Speaking at a Q&A session at Fort Hood for military personnel prior to UFC’s Fight For The Troops 2 event, White stated that those fighters must win their next bouts or they may be cut from the UFC.
“He’s (Machida) had two losses in a row,” White stated according to MMAFighting. “Right after he won the title, (Joe) Rogan said this is ‘The Machida Era,’ and I thought so too. Then Shogun beat him, and then he just lost to Rampage. Now he’s fighting Randy Couture in Toronto – and this is a must-win for him.”
Machida is set to face UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture at UFC 129 April 30 in Toronto.
White went on to say that for Ortiz, his upcoming bout with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira may be the last chance for the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” in the UFC. Ortiz-Nogueira is set to headline UFC Fight Night 24 on March 26 in Seattle, Washington.
“Tito’s got to win this fight to stay in the UFC. If he loses this fight, he’ll probably retire.”
Both Machida and Ortiz have found themselves on the losing end in their past several fights. After winning the light heavyweight title against Rashad Evans, Machida has lost his past two fights against current champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Ortiz, likewise, has not won a fight since 2006 against Ken Shamrock. He is 0-4-1 in his past 5 fights.
Meanwhile, the next contender for the belt after an upcoming title bout between Rua and Evans may be the former champion “Rampage” if he gets past Thiago Silva at UFC 130 in May, while the winner of UFC 126’s Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader will also jump into contention.
“(The light heavyweight) division is interesting. There’s so many guys at 205, (but) Rampage is probably next in line. Rampage is still in the mix. You’ve got Jon Jones fighting Bader, which is going to be a great fight that catapults one of those guys into the top five.”
Pictured: Lyoto Machida