The current landscape of the UFC is the wild west. Traditional rules do not apply, and scores are settled with competitive bouts that get fans buzzing. A plethora of fans gravitate towards the style of the American outlaw who is willing to take on any challenge, at any time. It is only fitting that in this wild west, fans love the outlaw that is “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone.
Willing to take fights on a moment’s notice across multiple weight classes makes Cerrone an MMA promoter’s dream. Add a cult-like following and the will to constantly push the pace in fights standing up, and you have the recipe for jaw dropping finishes; win or lose.
Having the luxury to compete at both 170 and 155lbs makes for a bunch of fresh matchups that the UFC has yet to see from Cowboy. The desire to stand and exchange in the pocket with anyone creates endless fantasy matchmaking scenarios. After a bone snapping armbar finish over Mike Perry at UFC Fight Night 139 in Denver, Cowboy and his sons’ tiny boots became stars of the night. Now fans are left to wonder what possible fights could be left for Cowboy. Here are six fights that would certainly entertain the fans.
#1: Donald Cerrone vs Conor McGregor (Lightweight)
Although Cerrone has recently had heated words for his ex-camp Jackson-Wink, he generally keeps his cool in the lead up to fights. McGregor is known for digging up information and selling fights with verbiage that usually goes viral. I’d expect Cerrone to play it cool, stay focused, and train as usual while McGregor continues his antics.
With both fighters landing over 4 significant strikes per minute, fan could expect many back and forth exchanges in the pocket. Also, both fighters average less than 2 takedowns per fight, which guarantees an instant classic of a slugfest, or a highlight reel KO. The winner of this fight would secure themselves a title shot at the current Lightweight king.
#2: Donald Cerrone vs Nate Diaz 2 (Lightweight)
After suffering a loss to Nate at UFC 141, the pair still managed to go the distance and earn Fight of the Night honors. Both men love winning bonuses and both prefer to fight an opponent who is willing to throw and exchange. Nate’s rise to stardom after a pair of fights with Conor McGregor makes him a box office draw to casual onlookers, guaranteeing both men to have a huge pay day in a main event slot. While their first fight happened in Vegas, it would magnify the fireworks of this event having it in California. Who knows, maybe the two would even share a Budweiser after the fight along with… Whatever Nate Diaz gets into.
#3: Donald Cerrone vs Anthony Pettis 2 (Lightweight)
While Pettis easily handled Cerrone at UFC Fight Night Chicago (2013), both men find themselves within an arm’s reach of title contention. Although Showtime is coming off a loss to Tony Ferguson, he proved that he was game. He looked in form in that bout, until he broke his hand, eventually causing his corner to step in. As heartbreaking as that was, a fight against Cerrone could boost his rankings not only with the UFC, but with the fans as well. Everyone would love to see a clash between the best current versions of Cowboy and Pettis. Especially with no long lay offs or ring rust between the pair for their second outing.
The three fights above would all be steps closer to getting Cowboy a title shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov. All three men are sure to entertain the fans while earning huge pay days at the same time. All would headline cards of the future in a time where the UFC is always looking to fill main event slots. The fights below are interesting prospects who could use a boost in rankings.
#4: Donald Cerrone vs Emil Meek (Welterweight)
Meek has an action-packed Viking warrior approach that meshes perfectly with the style of Cowboy Cerrone. Putting these two in the octagon together is a potential Fight of the Night candidate immediately. Both men display an undying will to brawl technically to a finish or go out on their shield trying.
#5: Donald Cerrone vs Sage Northcutt (Welterweight or Lightweight)
“Super” Sage is on a three-fight win streak since 2017. While this fight may not be possible now that Sage’s contract was not renewed by the UFC, this is not a matchup to gloss over. Over the course of these victories, there has been a clear evolution in Northcutt’s overall game. He’s shown a better understanding of range and using his speed to his advantage throughout rounds. A classic Muay Thai approach as polished as Cerrone could cause problems for Sage, but it would be a wonderful test for his new approach to stand up. Not to mention, if Sage were to pull off a victory, fans wouldn’t be able to question the hype behind his name.
#6: Donald Cerrone vs Alexander Hernandez (Lightweight)
Hernandez is a future star bursting into the UFC’s lightweight division. After a 42 second knockout of Beneil Dariush at UFC 222, Alexander “The Great” has proven that he is a hard hitting, pace pushing fighter looking to finish all bouts. In his fight with Olivier Aubin-Mercier at UFC on Fox 30, He has also shown that he can apply a constant forward pressure from bell to bell. While both Cerrone and Hernandez have displayed wresting in previous fights, it is safe to say that oddsmakers would favor this fighting ending in one round. One round full of technical destruction. A win for Cerrone would prove that he has evolved and can hang with the fighters or the future while a win for Hernandez puts his exciting style on the map.
With a record-breaking 21 wins in the octagon and 15 finishes Cerrone could virtually be matched with any man for an exciting fight. Many of those fights have come on short notice without a full camp. Simply put, Cerrone loves to fight. Anyone and anytime if he isn’t injured. When Cowboy decides to ride off into the sunset, he can look back at an amazing career that leads straight into the UFC Hall of Fame.