Monday, December 5, 2022

Who Should UFC Lightweight Donald Cerrone Fight Next?

After finishing Alexander Hernandez on the first UFC on ESPN+ card in January, Donald Cerrone has been sitting around waiting for the phone call for his next opponent. We all know “Cowboy” loves to stay active and fight as often as he can, but two months after the Hernandez fight and he doesn’t have an opponent yet. Below are five potential fights for the crowd favorite.

Conor McGregor

The fight that both fighters want and the fight the fans want is Cerrone against McGregor. Cerrone has never been in a true money fight like this and he absolutely deserves it for being such a good company man over the years. McGregor is coming off of a lopsided stoppage loss to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and needs a bounce-back fight against an opponent he can beat. Cerrone would have no problem standing in the center of the Octagon and trading punches with McGregor, making it a very intriguing fight on paper and one that the fans are salivating for. For whatever reason, the UFC is insistent on these two fighting in a three-round co-main event, but everyone knows this could easily be a five-round headliner for a pay-per-view. Hopefully cooler heads prevail and the UFC can book McGregor against Cerrone, because this is the fight to make.

Al Iaquinta

According to UFC president Dana White, the McGregor vs. Cerrone fight seems unlikely, and now the UFC is talking about a potential Iaquinta vs. Cerrone fight. Iaquinta is coming off of a massive win over Kevin Lee that puts him in the top-five rankings at lightweight. Cerrone and Iaquinta are both willing to stand and trade in the center of the Octagon, and on paper this would be a “Fight of the Year” contender. If the McGregor vs. Cerrone fight can’t get done for whatever reason, then Iaquinta vs. Cerrone would be a great Plan B.

Nate Diaz

Back at UFC 141 in 2011, Cerrone met Diaz and lost a lopsided decision in a “Fight of the Night.” Eight years later and they are both talking about a potential rematch, albeit at 185lbs with both men not being required to cut weight. It seems unlikely the UFC would let these two fight at middleweight, but perhaps a catchweight bout or a welterweight contest makes sense. Either way, it would be a very compelling rematch and a fan-friendly fight, and given the revenge factor it’s obvious why Cerrone is so interested in it.

Paul Felder

One of the most exciting lightweights on the roster right now is Felder, who has become a promotional favorite due to his excellent analysis skills in the commentary booth. He’s coming off of a big win over James Vick, and in the UFC’s official rankings Felder is only one spot behind Cerrone. If Cerrone can’t get a bigger name, then a fight against Felder — who he used to train with — would be a stylistically fun fight for the fans.

Tony Ferguson

And finally, Cerrone vs. Ferguson would be one hell of a fight. This matchup would actually be much higher on my list if not for the fact that I don’t believe Ferguson would take the fight. As good as Cerrone is, and as highly-respected as he is, it seems like Ferguson will only fight for the lightweight title next. After all, he did turn down an interim title fight against Max Holloway, which later went to Dustin Poirier. But if Ferguson is itching to get back into the Octagon to stay busy, then a fight against Cerrone would be fireworks.

Who should Donald Cerrone fight next? Leave your favorite matchup in a comment below.