My Favourite Fighter: Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone
By Ben Jessop
MMA is often referred to as the Wild West of sport. The crazy end of the sporting spectrum, where violence and barbarous, brutal acts reign supreme to please the ever hungrier fans. To be a real player in any MMA promotion and hold your own within this community puts you in the 0.1% of people willing or even able to do it, but to be able to compete and maintain the ability to be an elite force within arguably the best promotion on the planet, well that makes you a different kind of human. It makes you the Cowboy of the Wild West.
In my opinion, nobody in the UFC personifies what it means it really means to be an elite UFC fighter more than Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.
Cerrone is a man with thirty-three wins on his professional MMA record with twenty-two of those within the UFC, giving him the prestigious record of the most wins within the promotion of all time. Of course, this record doesn’t make Cerrone the most dominant fighter in UFC history but it does prove why I think it makes him the realest of all. When Cerrone says he will fight anyone, anywhere, he really does mean it and his record shows his lack of fear for anyone else willing to step into the octagon with him.
Cerrone made his UFC debut back in February 2011 when he faced Paul Kelly and secured his first of twenty-two UFC victories using a rear naked choke in the second round. He quickly became one of the most active fighters in the UFC, competing five times in 2011 with wins against Vagner Rocha in June, Charles Oliveira in August and Dennis Silver in October. By the time December rolled around, Cerrone was on a four fight win streak until he faced a fan favourite in Nate Diaz. Cerrone suffered his first UFC loss at the hands of Diaz via unanimous decision.
Cerrone jumped back into the cage and faced Jeremy Stephens in May 2012 and managed to secure another victory via decision and then he KO’d Melvin Guillard in August of 2012 before losing to Anthony Pettis in January of 2013. Cerrone’s entire record mirrors his earlier fights. He wasn’t and isn’t a fighter who is going to beat every man under the sun, every single time, but he truly is a man who has no fear, and a man who is willing to fight anyone at anytime.
There are some serious victories throughout his career, against some of the best fighters to ever be in the octagon including Edson Barboza, Eddie Alvarez, Matt Brown and the list goes on but losses have been part and parcel of Cerrone’s career with losses to the likes of Darren Till, Jorge Masvidal, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos but with an average of three fights a year for eight years, I don’t see how anyone could expect anything else.
Cowboy continues to be active, with three fights in 2018 with wins against Yancy Medeiros and Mike Perry, along with a loss to UK star Leon Edwards. This proves that Cowboy’s outlook on why he fights, and why he does what he does hasn’t changed at all. He faced off against one of the most talented young fighters in the UFC in January of 2019 when he defeated Alexander Hernandez via a head kick in the second round, proving that experience in the game is an unparalleled advantage.
It’s not just in the cage that Cerrone plays out his wild personality, who he is when he is in the cage is truly who he is in everyday life. Whether he’s motocross racing or deep-sea diving, he’s always chasing that thrill with a Budweiser in one hand. There is no trash talk, there is no showboating, all Cowboy wants to do is fight and I think, especially now, the UFC desperately needs more fighters like Cowboy on their roster.
With every fighter now going to the McGregor way, trying to reach that quick cash without the record to back them up, Cowboy stands out amongst the crowd of riled up, hungry young fighters as the calm, experienced, fearless competitor that isn’t afraid of anyone in the room.
For me, personally, he is the absolute epitome of what fight fans should be looking for and what young fighters should to be looking up to. The fight game isn’t made on the promotional tour, the fight game is made in the octagon and no one understands that better than Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.