That's what Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) lightweight division has become -- and in a big way. Possibly the organization's strongest division, the 155 pounders are a hungry pack of wolves, just waiting to pounce on any contender hoping to make the climb to a title shot.
At the UFC 135: "Jones vs. Rampage" pay-per-view event on Saturday night (Sept. 24) in Las Vegas, Japanese fighter Takanori Gomi will stare across the cage at Stockton native Nate Diaz, who will be making his return the lightweight division.
They both need a win. Diaz will be looking to avoid his third straight loss. Gomi has lost two of his last three fights and lost both of them badly.
Is "The Fireball Kid" at risk of facing the firing squad?
Gomi was signed to fight for the UFC in early 2010. He was widely heralded as one of the "next big things" to come out of Japan, from a mixed martial arts (MMA) perspective.
During that timeframe, he has been submitted by rear-naked choke, courtesy of Kenny Florian in the third round of their UFC Fight Night 25 bout on Mar. 31, 2010 in Charlotte. He was bullied and dominated. It was not a good showing.
Gomi was able to rebound with an impressive first round knockout of Tyson Griffin at UFC on Versus 2 on Aug. 1, 2010 in San Diego.
In his next fight, Gomi was, again, severely outmatched and unable to handle the takedowns of Clay Guida in their UFC 125 face-off on Jan. 1, 2011 in Las Vegas. Guida was able to submit Gomi by guillotine choke in the second round.
A loss always looks bad. But let's be real. When guys are out there putting on a show and bringing it, Dana White is much more likely to give them extra leeway. It's hard to make the argument that Gomi would fall in that category.
Sure, he knocked out Griffin, but that victory looks a little less impressive in light of Griffin's recent fight history.
Another loss, especially to an opponent who had previously lost two in a row, may be all Gomi needs to earn himself a pink slip.
Would it be merited? Is Gomi overrated or is he just a decent fighter stuck in a ridiculously talented division?