Cowboy’s Last Ride?

GDANSK, POLAND - OCTOBER 19: Donald Cerrone interacts with media during the UFC Fight Night Media Day inside Ergo Arena on October 19, 2017 in Gdansk, Poland. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has long been a fan favorite. From the start of his WEC and UFC career, he’s one of the promotion’s most active, exciting, and bankable fighters. In late 2015 and early 2016, Cowboy was looking more impressive than he ever had before. Unfortunately, three consecutive losses have started to bring murmurs from fans of the veteran star. Is this the last ride for Cowboy Cerrone?

Cerrone has a 32-10-0 record with one no-contest in his career. During his career, he’s fought a who’s who of names in the lightweight and welterweight divisions. He has notable wins over Eddie Alvarez, Benson Henderson, and Edson Barboza to name a few. ┬áHis losses have mostly been to fighters who have held a UFC title, or were in title fights.

In the old Zuffa iteration of the UFC, three straight losses used to be the kiss of death to a fighter. Now, its very doubtful that anyone will call for Cerrone’s dismissal from the UFC based on his string of losing fights, especially after his entertaining war with Robbie Lawler. The problem is though, Cerrone has been so close to titles, and been a popular figure in the UFC for so long, that this stretch may be a career killer in terms of chasing a title.

He Might Be Losing His Chin

An alarming trend in Cerrone’s recent losses is that they have been by TKO. Three of his last four losses have come by stoppage. He’s 34 years old, which means his career is likely winding down. A fighter with his style will likely never have the longevity of a guy like Randy Couture. With his fight history starting to include more knockouts, questions of durability arise. It’s possible that this cowboy may not have many more trips in his future.

What He Wants For His Legacy

He’s been so close to the title so many times, but at this juncture, in the super crowded welterweight division, Cowboy’s road to a title shot seems very murky. After losses to two top contenders, and with fighters like Till and Colby Covington rising fast, Cerrone has lost a lot of ground. Another factor that doesn’t help is Rafael Dos Anjos is a new addition to the welterweight title picture. Dos Anjos held a title in the lightweight division, and has twice defeated Cerrone.

With all this being said, there is a place in the Octagon for Cowboy. He’s still an option to be a headliner for a UFC Fight Night, or a featured bout on a pay per view card. With his path to the title almost gone, Cerrone at this stage is most likely going to become a gate keeper. There is nothing wrong with that role. Guys like Joe Lauzon and Andrei Arlovski come to mind as once-favorite fighters who have evolved into this veteran role. Whether Cowboy wants that to be the legacy of his last few fights is up to him.

What we do know is that he will have time to think about his next move and schedule his next fight. Notorious for his quick turn arounds, Cerrone was rumored to be angling for a spot on the annual New Years Eve card. That isn’t going to happen. He broke his nose in the Till fight and in all likelihood won’t return to the cage until spring of 2018.

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