Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone arguably banked the most impressive win of his career on Saturday night in Ottawa when he scored a TKO victory over former title contender, Patrick ‘The Predator’ Cote. His seventeenth win under the UFC banner, he is now only two victories off the men who sit on top of the charts with 19 victories, Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre.
Cote had only ever been beaten once in 18 tests in his homeland, and that sole loss came after Alan Belcher landed a WWE-inspired piledriver on him before choking him out while he was still groggy. Yet, Cerrone completely dominated him.
Two takedowns stifled the attacks of Cote in the first round. Reacting to his opponent reaching for an emphatic blow, Cerrone pounced and floored him twice where he dominated from top position. The remaining two rounds saw ‘Cowboy’ completely overwhelm Cote in the striking department. A dynamic display of shots marked the legs, body and head of Cote, before a left hook and two right hands from the boxing clinch sent him to the canvas in the third round.
A few shots on the ground finished the night for the Jackson-Winkeljohn product. Despite the amazing showing, that’s two back to back in a higher weight class for the former lightweight contender, you might think that he would look to solidify himself in the bracket. When asked at the event’s post-fight press conference, though, Cerrone was adamant that he was still open to contests in the lower weight class.
“I don’t know,” he answered. “155 or 170, either way. Whatever the fastest trip to the next fight is, whether it’s 155 or 170, that’s the route I’m going. I felt good. I probably was literally 176, 177 walking into this fight tonight. I felt good, but I’m not disregarding 155 at all, either way.”
Although it would probably take some of the devil may care persona away from Cerrone if he chose to dedicate his trade to just one weight class, based on his last two outings at welterweight he should definitely consider a permanent move to 170 lbs.
Cerrone had always been considered a slow started up until his debut at welterweight. Each of his losses at 155 lbs has been put down to his reluctance in the opening stages of a fight. Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz and most recently Rafael Dos Anjos have taken advantage of his tentativeness. In the lead up to their meeting on Saturday night, Cote even cited Cerrone’s slow starts as something he could capitalize on.
As revealed in his post-fight interview, there is a method that the fan favorite believes helped him gain a new intensity in the opening exchanges of contests.
“It was just a matter of figuring out how I can get started early,” Cerrone told John Anik in the middle of the Octagon. “Brandon Gibson and I came to the arena about six today and we went through the walk out about 20 times, maybe that’s the secret to me coming out hard.”
Asked how long he had been doing it for, Cerrone claimed that the visualization preparation only began with his last outing, his first bout at welterweight, which resulted in a first round submission of Alex Oliveira.
“My last two fights, yeah,” he replied when asked if he had ever gone through the procedure before.
The Rankings are A-Callin’
Cote was calling for a place in the rankings should he have beaten Cerrone ahead of their co-main event clash, and given the way he finished the durable Canadian, opportunities at the top of the welterweight bracket will inevitably open up for ‘Cowboy’ after Saturday night’s showing.
Based on how good he has looked at his new stomping ground, it doesn’t seem like a good idea for Cerrone to put himself through a considerable weight cut given how much energy he seems to have at welterweight. To add to that, realistically, any loss, no matter what division it occurs in, would undeniably have an impact on his status at both welterweight and lightweight. Just ask Sage Northcutt or Conor McGregor.
A man who constantly shies away from inactivity, Cerrone threw his name in the hat for a potential bout in July despite his victory over Cote coming in mid-June. It is believed that the less time Cerrone has to focus on an opponent, the better his display in their eventual meeting is. That being said, the July date might suit him down to the ground.
Given his massive popularity, his former successes at lightweight and the potency of his first two bouts at welterweight, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility to see Cerrone emerge on the fringes of the welterweight title conversation should he see off a ranked opponent on his next trip to Octagon. That in itself brings about another question—how does welterweight Cerrone deal with the pressure of the big occasion?
I think most people would like to find out.
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