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Maynard v. Huerta on tap for UFC Fight Night 19

Everyone’s favorite “dumb bitch,” Loretta Hunt, is reporting over at Sherdog that Roger Huerta will finally be fulfilling the last fight on his contract when he meets Xtreme Couture product Gray “The Bully” Maynard at UFC Fight Night 19 on September 16th. Huerta started his UFC career with six victories in a row before dropping a decision to current number one contender Kenny Florian, incuding wins over perennial badass Clay Guida and top-ranked featherweight Leonard Garcia. Maynard, on the other hand, is undefeated in his mixed martial arts career, posting five consecutive wins in the UFC. In his last three outings, Maynard took unanimous decisions over three highly touted fighters — Frankie Edgar, Rich Clementi, and Jim Miller.

The winner of this fight will have to be considered — along with Diego Sanchez and Edgar — one of the top contenders to the lightweight crown. Sanchez will likely fight the winner of August’s BJ Penn vs. Kenny Florian title fight, while Edgar and the Maynard v. Huerta victor will each need to win another fight before securing a crack at the belt. With former top-ranked lightweight Takanori Gomi potentially entering the Octagon, the UFC lightweight division is going to be heating up over the next few months.

Huerta hasn’t been seen the inside of a Zuffa cage since August of 2008 at UFC 87 (I was there and it was fucking awesome) because he refused to sign a five-fight extension and instead opted to pursue an acting career. It’s easy to envision Huerta leaving the UFC if he drops the fight to Maynard, but it’s an entirely different story if he comes out with the W. Dana White and friends will not want to lose one of their top contenders and will likely offer him a significant pay increase. Huerta, on the other hand, will likely realize (if he’s rational) that he’s too good at this fighting thing to pass up a UFC contract. After all, the window these guys have to perform at their peak isn’t all that long. On top of that, the money, fame, and success Huerta will recieve as a UFC star is likely much greater than he will be able to earn as one of many no-name actors with a pretty face.

But make no mistake: despite Huerta’s highly impressive 20-2-1 record, Maynard will be the favorite in this fight. Huerta has some slick jiu-jitsu and muay thai skills, but Maynard’s wrestling and power shots are a handful for any 155-pounder. In any case, it should be interesting to watch. Either Maynard further establishes himself as one of the top lightweights and sends Huerta out of the Octagon on a negative note, or Huerta re-ignites his fighting career and championship hopes by beating a very dangerous opponent. Fuck, I love fighting.