Actions speak louder than words. For three consecutive fights, Donald Cerrone, better known simply as Cowboy, stalked the welterweight division with ease. Jumping up from lightweight, the former title challenger lacked only a definitive win at 170lbs. At UFC 206 Saturday, he found just that.
Matt Brown is no slouch. A fan favorite fighter with a style along the lines of “move forward at all times while throwing punches” it was clear that his pairing with Cowboy at UFC 206 would produce fireworks. Too many, in fact, it was the first real test of Cerrone in the weight class.
Sure, Alex Oliveira, Patrick Cote, and Rick Story were all great fighters. No question there. Welterweight is as deep a division as you’ll find in MMA. Yet Cerrone didn’t have a real big name fight on his welterweight resume. Story is always flirting with the top ten of the division, but Brown — Brown was just the test Cowboy needed. The Immortal, after all, has fought nearly all the best names in the weight class.
For two rounds, he gave Cowboy a heck of a challenge. In fact, had they not gone on immediately after the barn burner that was Swanson vs. Choi, Cerrone vs. Brown might have been considered for Fight of the Night. Instead, it was simply a very good bout where Brown caught Cerrone’s attention, begrudgingly earning his respect in the process before Cowboy turned up the pace and eventually caught his opponent with a vicious head kick set up beautifully off a jab.
That’s great news. With Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit seemingly in free fall, the 170-pound division needed someone other than Lawler, Maia, and Thompson in the title mix. Especially given how quickly belts have changed hands of late. The fan friendly, action-packed Cowboy is the perfect answer.
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A dream bout with either Robbie Lawler or Carlos Condit would seem to be in the making at this point. A win there and Cowboy could easily be right into a title fight at in his second weight class. That’s an exciting prospect. While Demian Maia and Stephen Thompson are ahead of him, one or the other should see the next shot, and after that, it’s anyone’s guess as to how the UFC will book things.
In other words, Cowboy is in the perfect position to strike for gold. Not a bad position to find oneself in at the height of your career in a new weight class.