UFC 140 fight card: Tito Ortiz vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, a battle for UFC futures

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Light Heavyweight opponents Tito Ortiz and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira face off after weighing in during the UFC 140 Official Weigh-in at the Air Canada Centre on December 9, 2011 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images via UFC.com.)

Loser leaves town match?

It's always hard to tell, especially when it's a fight between two accomplished mixed martial arts (MMA) veterans such as Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, which will be featured on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 140: "Jones vs. Machida" pay-per-view (PPV) main card.

In the lead up to the event at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, tonight (Dec. 10, 2011), Ortiz -- who is a miserable 1-5-1 since 2006 -- has already uncharacteristically hinted that the end of his illustrious professional fighting career is likely near. In fact, it could be curtains for Ortiz, 36, in 2012, or perhaps as quickly as this weekend, if "Lil Nog" proves too pesky.

Noguiera, meanwhile, has suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since he cracked into the sport more than a decade ago, failing to live up to the potential that he brought over with him from Pride FC. "Minotouro," who could very well be in the midst of a three-fight skid because of a very favorable controversial decision win over Jason Brilz, doesn't appear to share Ortiz's retirement intentions.

However, with another loss, Nogueira's fight future inside the Octagon will certainly be in peril just like the "Huntington Beach Bad Boy."

Ortiz and Nogueira, for the most part, have not been losing to chumps. Rashad Evans and Phil Davis, two top divisional contenders who defeated Ortiz and Noguiera, respectively, in their most recent bouts, are now set to headline the UFC on Fox 2 main event on Jan. 28, 2012.

Certainly no shame in that.

The problem, however, is that -- with the exception of Ortiz's surprise submission win over Ryan Bader earlier this year -- both fighters no longer seem capable of defeating fighters in the upper echelon of the 205-pound division. And when fighters are getting paid six-figure salaries, which both men are, to beat top competition and they can't, things need to change.

It's safe to assume that Ortiz and Nogueira are feeling the pressure, eager to turn in vintage performances that can erase their recent below average pasts.

Ortiz was actually in the same position prior to his huge win over Bader at UFC 132 and he momentarily injected hope into his fight future. Unfortunately, that hope only lasted four weeks because Ortiz would accept a short notice fight against Evans at UFC 133 and lose it via technical knockout. And, barring a monumental Randy Couture-esque career resurgence, Ortiz will be fighting an uphill battle until he hangs up the gloves.

Nogueira isn't far behind if he can't fix what seemingly broke somewhere across the pacific.

It's a battle for fight futures when Ortiz and Nogueira lock horns. Their pasts already speak for themselves. Both men, like most athletes who hit their mid-30's, will eventually leave town ... one likely sooner than the other.

Neither of them, however, losers.

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