There were many questions about Donald Cerrone heading into his main event bout against Yancy Medeiros at UFC Fight Night 126, which took place Sunday night in Austin, Texas. Cerrone, one of the winningest fighters in UFC history, was coming off of three straight losses to Darren Till, Robbie Lawler and Jorge Masvidal. This left many observers of the sport wondering just how much he had left in the tank.
Well, those questions have been answered as Cerrone proved with his first-round KO win over Medeiros that he still has what it takes to win fights in the UFC. After an even four minutes and 50 seconds of the first round, Cerrone landed a knockdown on Medeiros late in the opening frame and was able to finish him off just two seconds ahead of the horn. It was Cerrone’s first win since a KO victory over Matt Brown in December 2016, snapping both Cerrone’s three-fight losing streak and Medeiros’ three-fight win streak in the process.
Following the bout, Cerrone told reporters in the post-fight press conference that he now intends to move back to the lightweight division, where he has had most of his success in the UFC. While Cerrone has gone 5-3 as a welterweight, he went 15-4 as a lightweight, a significantly better winning percentage. It’s true that Cerrone has looked great at times at 170, but he also admitted the size difference can be tough for him, and he feels like moving back down to 155 will give him the best chance of holding UFC gold. He even called out Khabib Nurmagomedov for good measure.
At 34, it remains to be seen if Cerrone is still a true title contender in the UFC, whether that’s at 155 or 170. It’s possible that his best days are behind him at this point, because it’s hard to see him improving from here on out. But either way he’s still one of the most exciting fighters on the UFC roster at either weight class, and one of the most active as well.
While he did say he wants to go back to 155, he also admitted he would consider taking fights at 170 if the UFC asked him to do it. Always the company man, Cerrone has constantly put the UFC’s best interests ahead of his own. But in his mid 30s now, “Cowboy” would be smart to talk to his team and do what’s best for his career, because with so much mileage on his body, he has to start being careful about what fights he takes going forward.
Though Cerrone likely wouldn’t have been cut even if he had lost four-straight fights, beating Medeiros and snapping his three-fight losing streak was huge for his confidence and it keeps him relevant in the UFC. Medeiros is a very durable fighter and the fact Cerrone was able to knock him out is huge. MMA fans have short memories and have already forgotten about his three straight defeats. It remains to be seen if Cerrone will ever win gold in the UFC, but what has always been true is Cerrone’s ability to put on exciting fights for the fans, and he’ll enter the UFC Hall of Fame one day even if he never ultimately reaches his goal of winning UFC gold.
Will moving back to 155 be the right move for Cerrone or should he stay at 170? Leave a comment below.