This weekend will see two veterans collide on the pay-per-view main stage in Phoenix, Arizona. On one side will be fan favorite Cerrone, who has fought a who’s who of UFC stars since arriving in the promotion in 2011.
His opponent, known as “J-Lau,” will be returning from a near-three-year layoff this Saturday. The Massachusetts native, who has shared the cage with the likes of Clay Guida, Al Iaquinta, Anthony Pettis, and Kenny Florian, hasn’t appeared since snapping a three-fight losing skid by TKOing Jonathan Pearce at UFC on ESPN 6 in 2019.
With 97 professional fights and 34 combined years of cage time between them, the UFC 274 opener is the very definition of a ‘clash of veterans’. And for Dana White, it should represent the final outing for one of the long-time UFC athletes.
During a recent interview with MMA Underground’s John Morgan, White was asked whether either man’s career is on the line on May 7. For the UFC President, the stipulation of a UFC exit exists for both men.
“That one should be the loser probably packs it up and rides off into the sunset,” admitted White. “That, I would agree with.”
Given White’s previous comments on Cerrone closing out his career, as well as the reported retirement deal that the UFC chief made with Lauzon ahead of UFC Boston in 2019, his comments come as no surprise.
Cerrone enters his 38th UFC fight riding a torrid run of form that’s seen him unable to secure a victory in his last six appearances. That period has seen him finished four times via strikes. Lauzon, meanwhile, lost a trio of consecutive fights against Guida, Stevie Ray, and Chris Gruetzemacher before rebounding against Pearce.
With 14 knockout losses between them, it’s safe to say that another stoppage loss for either man should perhaps signal the end, especially when it’s considered that this bout falls just one short of the record for combined losses between two opposing UFC fighters.
While their bout this weekend is set to be an entertaining one in spite of their late-career declines, the extra stakes of a retirement match will add an intriguing aspect to the PPV opener.
Do you agree with Dana White? Should the loser of Donald Cerrone vs. Joe Lauzon retire following UFC 274?