June 8 marks Donald Cerrone’s third Octagon appearance of 2019, as he’ll face off against #3 ranked Tony Ferguson in what is being looked at as the number one contender fight in the lightweight division.
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Since moving back down to lightweight, “Cowboy” has defeated both Alexander Hernandez and Al Iaquinta, both within the space of 5 months.
Donald Cerrone (36-11-1) is the number one record breaker within the UFC. He holds:
- The 2nd, soon to be joint first most fights in UFC history (31)
- The most wins (23)
- The highest amount of finishes (16)
- 1st in knockdowns (20)
- The most performance bonuses (17)
These exceptional statistics emphasize how incredible of a career “Cowboy” has had under the Ultimate Fighting Championship banner.
We have compiled a short list of Donald Cerrone’s top 5 UFC finishes.
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5: “He knocked him down with a jab!”
At UFC on FOX 11 in April 2014, Donald Cerrone found himself in the Octagon with arguably the best kicker in mixed martial arts history – Edson Barboza.
The Brazilian walked into the Amway Center riding a three-fight win streak and had only one professional loss in his career. Although he had four knockouts in the UFC at the time, Barboza possesses extremely slick grappling and jiu-jitsu, which many expected would keep the fight standing.
It’s no secret that “Cowboy” loves to fight, and he had every intention of keeping this one standing. His hands had other plans.
Minutes into the first round, he dropped Barboza to the canvas with a jab, triggering Joe Rogan to shout the now infamous line which is carved into MMA history: “He knocked him down with a jab.”
Cerrone, being the opportunist he is, proceeded to take the back of stunned Brazilian and strangled him with a textbook rear-naked choke. The tap came 3 minutes and 15 seconds into the opening round and earned “Cowboy” a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus.
4: Jim Miller goes night night
Following the first round finish of Edson Barboza, “Cowboy” was matched up against the ever-durable veteran Jim Miller. The fight came three months after Cerrone’s win, but that never fazed the Colorado native. The fight was scheduled for five rounds, but with two deadly finishers set to collide, the odds of scorecards playing a factor were unlikely.
The first round featured lots of action from both men, with Miller testing the chin and grit of his opponent. Cerrone had a distinct reach advantage as he was considerably taller; his kickboxing allowed him to control the first five minutes of play.
Round two began instantly, with Cerrone snapping kicks to the body of Miller. Less than a minute in, referee Dan Miragliotta paused the fight due to a low blow, however, a replay on the incident in fact showed that the foot of Cerrone landed to the stomach, causing the smaller Miller to wince in pain. Donald was visibly annoyed by the call, but got right back to work, continuing to punish the body of his opponent.
“Cowboy” switched up his offense, landing a precise head kick to the neck of Miller, causing him to fall into the cage. He was able to land this as he efficiently used feints, and mixed up his large arsenal of attacks.
Donald Cerrone feints a right straight to land a head kick on Jim Miller
3: Overcoming adversity
In 2012, Cerrone battled Melvin Guillard in a fight that only lasted four minutes, but received ‘Fight of the Night’ and ‘Performance of the Night’ honors.
Both men entered the bout which huge amounts of respect for one another – they were good friends and former training partners – but when the time came to fight, boy did they deliver.
The contest was the co-main event in Cerrone’s hometown of Denver, Colorado, and he received a hard-earned hero’s welcome.
Ten seconds into the first round, the underdog Guillard countered the hometown favorite with an overhead left, forcing him to the canvas. Cerrone popped back up to his feet but was being stalked by Guillard, who originally took the fight on short notice.
Cerrone’s legs appeared to wobble as he pushed his opponent away and began to measure his range. Both competitors threw heat, with “Cowboy” landing a solid leg kick and his opponent slightly missing a 1-2. Moments later, the Colorado native’s chin connected with his opponent’s temple, prompting Guillard to do the chicken dance.
Donald Cerrone followed up with a straight right hand, knocking his former teammate out unconscious. Another fight, another finish.
2: A horror story for Rick
In 2016, Donald Cerrone moved up to welterweight in search for a coveted gold belt. He remained undefeated in his first four fights at the new and improved weight class and seemed to be at his peak.
On the main card of the historic UFC 202, he landed one of the best combinations ever witnessed inside a cage.
His opponent for the night was Rick “The Horror” Story, who holds wins over Johny Hendricks and Gunnar Nelson. Although he was the betting favorite, not many expected Cerrone to finish the durable Story, especially in spectacular fashion; that is exactly what transpired.
Story proved to be a fierce competitor who wasn’t going to let the big occasion effect him. He was able to take Cerrone down and land big strikes for the first five minutes. The second round will forever be remembered.
“Cowboy” was countering his opponent extremely well, often with powerful knees or sharp right hands. A southpaw Story attempted a straight left but was met with something far deadlier in response: jab, straight to the body, left hook then right high kick.
This jaw-dropping combination sent Story stumbling towards the fence, with an adrenaline-filled Cerrone on his heels. Cerrone swarmed his opponent, landing a big knee and series of hooks, causing the referee to wave off the contest just as “The Horror” collapsed to the ground.
1: Setting records
For our final finish of Donald Cerrone’s UFC career, we go back to 2016, where he fought fellow veteran, Matt Brown.
Before the two men even faced off, Matt Brown was foul mouthing his UFC 206 opponent. He believed that Cerrone wasn’t an “honorable martial artist,” and claimed he was “a bully.”
This bad blood poured into the weigh-ins, with Brown refusing to shake Cerrone’s hand. Despite the awkwardness, “Cowboy” was having a good time, and was seen smiling and talking to his adversary. As we often see if mixed martial arts, trash talk means nothing come fight night.
The contest between Cerrone and Brown was a fun, technical scrap, with both men showing off their Kickboxing and Muay Thai skills respectively. In spite of the fact that it was fun to watch, it was clear that Cerrone was winning on the scorecards. He controlled range with his jab and high-level kicking game as he often does, frustrating the fellow veteran. The fight lasted longer than fans anticipated as it made its way to the third and final five minutes.
Throughout the fight “Cowboy” had landed his patent head and body kicks; Brown’s defensive skills mixed with toughness and determination carried him past the first few waves, but come the third round, fatigue had found its way in, and wouldn’t budge.
Cerrone took full advantage of his opponent’s sloppy defensive guard, firing a shivering head kick which was heard all the way from Mars.
“Cowboy” looked down on the picture he had just painted, whilst everyone watching admired the outstanding finish.
This knockout not only solidified him as one of the most dangerous men on the planet but handed him his sixth head kick finish inside the Octagon – a new record.
It seems that every time Cerrone emerges from the eight-sided pit of violence, a new record comes with him. Don’t miss his number one contender fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 238, exclusively available via ESPN+ in the United States.
Steven specialises in MMA and Lethwei. He loves a good 1-2 down the middle.