UFC 124 competitors Mac Danzig and Joe Stevenson reside in one of the deepest divisions in combat sports: the UFC’s 155-pound circuit. With the depth of the weight class comes a realization that one’s position in it is coveted and sought after by everyone underneath them in the rankings.
With the recent merger of the WEC into the UFC, a roster of around 70 fighters have joined the ranks of the MMA’s premier league. This being the case, it is unlikely that all of those fighters will retain their positions within the organization, ultimately leading to more cuts.
Danzig is in a position where, historically, long-term employment remains as a reality. Winning the famed reality show “The Ultimate Fighter” gave Danzig a healthy fight contract and a shot to make some waves in the UFC. Recent history, however, shows that winning a season of the Spike TV series doesn’t necessarily guarantee the longevity that it used to.
The chance of being cut has jumped to a level higher than it has ever been, and it lingers in the minds of these athletes.
“Even though the UFC holds a lot of events, they can’t keep all these guys on roster,” Danzig told MMAWeekly Radio. “So they’re going to be cutting people a lot more, and yeah, it’s in the back of my head; it’s in the back of Joe’s head. Let’s not beat around the bush here. I’m sure, unless our fight is some sort of spectacular war, one of us is probably going to be looking at having to leave. It’s not set in stone, but it’s a damn good probability.”
That being said, Danzig isn’t making plans to leave.
“I don’t plan on letting this guy stop me from continuing my career in the UFC.”
Apart from fighting for his job at UFC 124, Danzig is healing up. During training camp for his rematch with Matt Wiman, Danzig sustained what looked like a extensive list of injuries, none more damaging than the one to his chest.
The TUF alum talked about the injuries and where he feels he is at now with the recovery.
“A lot of stuff happened all at once with that,” he said. “The pectoral muscle got torn a little and the ribs, right underneath it, the cartilage got torn. And the same time I jammed the joint where the sternum and the clavicle meet, which is called the sternoclavicular joint, and I jammed that pretty bad. And that caused a bunch of other problems like a pinched nerve in my neck and all sorts of (expletive). So it was not pleasant, but I’ve recovered from that. I’d say I’m about 95-percent now, which is pretty good.”
The injury stopped Danzig from getting the payback he was looking for against Wiman. The two were scheduled to fight at UFC Fight Night on Sept. 15, but Danzig’s injury prevented that fight from happening.
In their match-up at UFC 115, Wiman looked as though he had locked in a guillotine choke that put Danzig in an unconscious state. Referee Yves Lavigne stepped in and put a halt to the fight, immediately prompting Danzig to raise his hands in disbelief and protest. Obviously, he hadn’t been choked out, nor did he signal with a tap of submission.
Danzig made it clear he would still like to get the rematch that got away.
“I’d love that fight. I think it’s a good match-up for me,” he said. “I think he’s a good fighter. He’s looking to end the fight in all different areas and he’s not just a wrestler trying to stall. It’s an exciting fight for me and, of course, it’s in the back of my mind. I’m ready for it whenever, hopefully after this one.”
For Danzig, the biggest downer about that part of the year was not necessarily the cancellation of the rematch. What stood out more to him was the simple fact that he just didn’t get to compete. He’s a fighter by heart, as well as occupation, so the drive to battle with a formidable foe reads high on any gauge.
“I was looking forward to it and looking forward to redeeming myself.” he said. “Whether it’s a rematch or not, I just really wanted to fight. That’s the way this sport goes.”
Danzig will finally get his chance to fight this weekend at UFC 124. His opponent, Joe Stevenson, will make sure of that.