Donald Cerrone (pictured) entered Saturday’s title bout against UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos as the division’s hottest fighter having won eight straight scraps.
It wasn’t just the torrid run that Cerrone pieced together that was impressive, it was who the victories came against – several up-and-comers and two former champs. What Cerrone has been doing inside the cage led many to believe the 32-year-old had finally turned to corner.
Instead, Cerrone laid the stinkiest of eggs against dos Anjos, even admitting, “Sometimes you just don’t show up to work, so you get your ass kicked.”
Not showing up when gold is on the line? It’s certainly not the first time for Cerrone.
Cerrone is one of MMA’s most active, exciting and successful fighters, but he is now 0-4 in championship affairs. “Cowboy” came up short in three WEC lightweight title tilts and was absolutely plastered by dos Anjos Saturday in the biggest fight of his life.
Let’s also not forget that Cerrone was dominated by Nate Diaz nearly four years ago to the day in a UFC lightweight title eliminator. Cerrone was white hot then, too, having rattled off six consecutive wins.
Dare we say Cerrone has entered Urijah Faber territory? Well, to Faber’s credit he was at least once the WEC featherweight champ even though seven of the eight losses on his resume have come in championship affairs.
UFC president Dana White dubbed Kenny Florian a “choker” after he lost two title fights and came up short on a title eliminator. If that’s the case, what does White think of Cerrone?
For whatever reason, “Cowboy” shoots blanks when the belt is on the line. When the big boy lights come on, he doesn’t perform.
This one, however, has to sting worse than any of the other title losses for Cerrone considering a big money fight with UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor was at stake. Can you imagine what a win over dos Anjos, then a victory over McGregor would have done for Cerrone’s career, let alone his bank account?
So where does Cerrone go from here?
“I don’t even know if [the UFC will] want to call me after that ass whipping,” Cerrone admitted. “But that’s what I do is fight. Sometimes you just don’t show up. I don’t have an excuse – I just wasn’t there. He showed up and did what he had to do.”
Donald Cerrone. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride…