On Saturday, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone dropped a unanimous decision to Leon Edwards at UFC Fight Night: Singapore. The loss marked Cerrone’s fourth in his last five fights. Meanwhile, Edwards picked up his sixth straight victory.
Post-fight, ‘Cowboy’ explained that he was nearly forced to pull out of the fight the morning of due to illness. He later explained that this played no role in his performance.
While the bout was closely contested, one must wonder where ‘Cowboy’ goes from here.
Following a successful start in the welterweight ranks with wins over Alex Oliveira, Patrick Cote, Rick Story and Matt Brown, Cerrone has fallen on hard times as of late.
Knockouts at the hands of Jorge Masvidal and Darren Till, coupled with decision losses to former champion Robbie Lawler and Edwards have highlighted the fact that Cowboy is in need of change.
Some have already summarized that his best days are behind him. They are calling for one of MMA’s fan favourites to hang up his gloves. ‘Cowboy’ himself isn’t a fan of that idea, however.
Instead, maybe the 12-year veteran should venture back down to the lightweight division, where he made a name for himself became a top contender.
When Cerrone burst onto the 170 pound scene, fans and critics alike were impressed by his highlight reel finishes of Cote, Story and Brown. But, if one looks closely, the fights themselves tell a different story (no pun intended).
The Cote fight was a back and forth affair. Both guys ate some big shots, until eventually Cerrone found a way to come out with the victory.
The Brown fight was a struggle. The two sluggers each took just as much as they dished out. Brown had success pressuring ‘Cowboy’, tiring him out against the fence. In this fight, Cerrone’s size disadvantage was its most evident. But as ‘Cowboy’ so often does, he found a way to land that big shot, and added another one to the win column.
Since those fights, his losses have further illustrated this point. Take Darren Till for example.
The number two ranked UFC welterweight contender decimated ‘Cowboy’ in what was considered his breakout performance. Till is a massive welterweight, missing weight twice in his UFC career, including his most recent fight, a victory over two-time title challenger Stephen Thompson. In the aftermath of that fight, a video surfaced of Till struggling during his weight cut.
A trip back down to lightweight could be an opportunity to return to form for Cerrone. The man made a name for himself, thrilled fans with his all-action style, a fought and defeated a who’s who in the sport.
The numbers back it up as well.
Since joining the UFC in 2011, ‘Cowboy’ has gone 15-4 at 155 pounds.
Not bad, right? He even earned himself his first crack at a UFC title against then-champion Rafael Dos Anjos.
His stint at 170 has been less impressive, going just 5-4 since making the jump in 2016. Not only that, but Cerrone suffered a career-worst three-fight losing streak over that period.
Part of ‘Cowboy’s’ appeal to the fans, apart from his aggressive in-ring style, is his care-free attitude. He has an old school mentality, willing to fight any and all challengers at a moment’s notice. He lives the ultimate adrenaline junkie lifestlyle. Perhaps most impressive, is his lack of interest in rankings and championships.
Donald Cerrone just loves to fight.
However, if he wishes to continue to fight, especially for an extended period of time, maybe the lightweight division is his best option at this point in time.
Rest assured, ‘Cowboy’ isn’t going anywhere just yet, ladies and gentlemen.