Donald Cerrone the archetypal anytime, anywhere fighter did not show up Saturday, as Darren Till got the surprise KO upset. It is Cerrone’s third loss in a row and more worryingly his second TKO loss within those three fights. Cerrone will always be a big draw with a noticeable name that casual and hardcore fans both recognize. A suggestion he should retire (albeit an option) is not really the aim here but given the realization now that it would be very difficult for Cerrone to compete with the higher echelon of welterweight fighters, his goals need to be changing. Darren Till, with his large frame, showed no respect and took it straight to the former lightweight challenger. He capitalized on Cowboy’s usual slow start and frankly made him look old.
At this stage, Cerrone should look at changing his philosophy of taking so many fights within short periods. It is not good for his longevity and is now clearly affecting his performances. Also, he needs to pay attention to who he’s competing against. As technically proficient as Cerrone is, the truth is Cerrone has never been known as the type to scout opponents or look at the tape because and he has mentioned many times he likes to delegate this to his coaches. Knowing the fighter Cerrone is, the first thing he should be doing is getting as much information as possible about his opponent.
A new chapter
Where does Cerrone go from here? Well, firstly the UFC can continue to book him in Fight Night main event as many times a year as possible. Unfortunately, he’s in an awkward place in the division as he warrants no one in the top five considering he’s dropped three. However, I can see many matchups that would be good challenges at welterweight such as Gunnar Nelson who himself is coming off a loss. Nelson is talented and is looking for a way back into the top ten of the division. Another option is Neil Magny who is also coming off a loss and again is an opponent that would give Cerrone a different look.
We could also look at Cerrone go back to lightweight (although I would not advise it) as the problem is the next crop of elite welterweight are big, strong and lanky. You have “The Nigerian Nightmare” Kamaru Usman on an impressive streak, the very dangerous Santiago Ponzinibbio who has slowly worked his way up the rankings and has himself a fun fight against “Platinum” Mike Perry. If Cerrone started taking fewer fights, possibly twice a year, I believe the weight cut can be more manageable. At lightweight, which is the deepest division arguably in the UFC, there are many fun fights to be looked at for “Cowboy” such as Michael Johnson or a rematch with Anthony Pettis. The fight I really want to see is against Poirier which has fireworks written all over it. The truth is competitively his frame suits the lightweight class as opposed to him competing against the top class welterweights. Maybe it’s time to go back?
Cerrone’s career is slowly winding down, but he is still a top-class talented fighter, retirement is creeping up but it does not have to be the time now to call quits. The key for the popular Cerrone is purely down to management of how many fights he’s taking, who against and at which division. What do you think Cowboy should do going forward?
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