1 fighter on the chopping block at UFC St. Louis

Here's one fighter that could lose their job with a loss on Saturday.

MMA is a brutal sport, especially at the highest level. Fighters come and go practically every week in the UFC meaning at least one fighter may have their job on the line at nearly every event.

Despite the high energy expected from the crowd on May 11, UFC St. Louis will be no different. Of the 13-fight card, three fighters will be representing the hometown area, including one who may have to literally fight for his job.

Through seven fights in the UFC, Charles 'InnerG' Johnson has compiled a record of just 3-4. Johnson arguably saved his job with his last win, an upset over then-undefeated prospect Azat Maksum, but could still need a win in his own backyard to keep his spot on the roster. Though Johnson was born in Kansas, he has called St. Louis his home and calls himself "The Pride of St. Louis" in his Instagram biography.

Johnson had the unenviable task of making his UFC debut against Muhammad Mokaev in London back in 2022 after previously serving as the LFA flyweight champion. Mokaev expectedly dominated, but Johnson would rebound in his next two outings, picking up wins over Zhalgas Zhumagulov and Jimmy Flick.

However, Johnson would drop his ensuing three fights all by decision. In 2023, Johnson would lose to Ode' Osbourne, Cody Durden and Rafael Estevam. The win over Maksum prevented a four-fight losing streak but with a loss on May 11, Johnson is at risk of dropping to 3-5 in the UFC.

Charles Johnson faces Jake Hadley at UFC St. Louis

In his upcoming outing, Johnson will meet Jake Hadley on the prelims of UFC St. Louis. Hadley owns a much better record than Johnson but is in a similar position in his career, desperately needing a win to get his career back on track. Hadley entered the UFC as an undefeated prospect but has gone just 2-2 in the promotion thus far while being favored at over 2-1 in both of his losses.

Both Johnson and Hadley have underwhelmed in the UFC so far but it will be Hadley entering the fight as the betting favorite. Hadley last lost to Durden at UFC Nashville but previously put together back-to-back impressive wins over Carlos Candelario and Malcolm Gordon to showcase the potential fans once saw in him.

Contract details are rarely made public in the UFC but the industry standard is typically based on four-fight deals. Even if the UFC does not outright cut Johnson, UFC St. Louis marks his eighth fight in the Octagon, potentially the end of his second contract. If Johnson is on the last fight of his deal and loses to Hadley, there may not be a long list of reasons for the front office to extend another offer.

While Hadley is another stiff test for Johnson, the 33-year-old has never been truly dominated by any fighter other than Mokaev so far and just proved he is still a tough test for young prospects. Johnson, a former professional boxer, also possesses the skills to give Hadley trouble with his striking with the latter winning most of his fights by submission.

Hadley and Johnson will be the third fight of UFC St. Louis on May 11, scheduled to walk out at roughly 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT in the Enterprise Center and broadcasted live on ESPN+.


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