Pettis vs Cerrone II: Cowboy’s Last Showdown? – UFC 249

Donald Cerrone

Cerrone's torrid year

Donald Cerrone has had a record-breaking 13-year career in the UFC, fighting a long list of great men and beating some of the best fighters the octagon has to offer.

With a record of 36 wins and 14 losses, Cerrone has become a household name in mixed martial arts, building a reputation as one of the best fighters the UFC lightweight division has ever seen, currently being placed at sixth in the rankings.

Now, 'Cowboy' will face another veteran of the sport, Anthony Pettis, in a welterweight bout featured as a Prelim to UFC 249: Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje. This will be the second time the fighters have crossed paths after a Pettis kick to the body led to a first-round TKO, back in January 2013.

Seven years on, Cerrone will be eager to avenge the result of their last bout, however, as this will be his first fight since his defeat to Conor McGregor, in a fight that lasted just 40 seconds back in January.

Let's take a look at how things could go down and what this means for the immeasurable career of this legendary fighter.

UFC 249 is Cerrone's biggest bout yet

For a variety of reasons, this rematch with Pettis at UFC 249 is monumental for Cerrone and perhaps the biggest bout in his career. Simply put, a loss will mean two within the space of seven years against 'Showtime' and four losses on the bounce since the beginning of 2019, ultimately, showing he hasn't made many positive steps forward within this time. A win, however, and perhaps this superstar gets his career back on track.

'Cowboy' has indeed lost three consecutive fights, meaning his loss at UFC 246 was his seventh defeat in his last 11 fights. In a recent interview with ESPN, Cerrone claimed that he was not fully concentrated on the McGregor fight, stating “he was not fired up”.

Before this bout, Cerrone was also beaten by the men who are the main card for his fight with Pettis - Ferguson and Gaethje. At 37-years-old with three consecutive losses and claims of finding it hard to get excited for possibly the biggest fight of his career with McGregor, there is the possibility that UFC 249 could be the Cowboy’s last showdown.

Having a total of 34 fights in the UFC, Cerrone has the joint highest number of fights the company has promoted, being equalled only Jim Miller, thus making UFC 249 the fight to make him the singular holder of the record.

Cerrone should retire whilst his record is intact

We've all got to call it a day sooner rather than later, and you only need to look at Anderson Silva to know why this is so vital. The Brazilian was long regarded as the greatest to ever do it, but after losing six of his last seven fights and having his win over Nick Diaz overturned due to a positive drugs test, his G.O.A.T status has been thrown into doubt.

As for Cerrone, he has fought a host of elite fighters in his career, as his CV features the likes of Tony Ferguson, McGregor, Robbie Lawler, Jorge Masvidal, Nate Diaz and a list of other big names in the UFC.

A second meeting with Pettis will be his 35th bout in the UFC and yet another significant fight to add to his career record. Should Cerrone manage to win the fight, he will also add to his UFC record of the most fights won – currently at 23.

If the result of UFC 249 is the same as his previous bout with Pettis, Cerrone may choose to retire from the sport, with yet another loss and perhaps further lack of motivation taking its toll on him too much. After all, Cowboy is now 37 and perhaps his recent run of losses and his comments to ESPN may be an indication that Cerrone is close to ending his career.

A loss to Pettis may ensure this as the lightweight veteran may prefer to stop while he still holds all of his records. Perhaps even more impressive than his record win total, Cerrone also has the joint highest number of finishes in the UFC, ending 16 of his 34 fights before the fight clock has expired, with half of those being in the first round.

The ultimate record-breaker

His record number of fights, victories and finishes is what has etched Cerrone in the history of the UFC. The veteran's list of records is simply unrivalled, with the highest number of win bonuses, with 18 - Charles Oliveira is the only fighter coming close with 16.

The 37-year-old’s exciting and show-stopping performances in the octagon are what have earned Cowboy his record number of fight bonuses, with a 47% strike landing percentile and an average of 4.35 strikes landed per minute.

Cerrone's exciting style and aggressive striking stats have also contributed to his 20 knockdowns in the octagon, yet another UFC record the Denver fighter holds currently. This impressive record puts Cerrone further than the likes of UFC legends like Chuck Liddell and Silva when it comes to knockdowns, highlighting just how good he has been over his career.

Pettis is also near the penultimate fights of his career at 33, and will not want to leave the UFC octagon in Jacksonville with his third consecutive loss on May 9, making this bout one of the more interesting fights on the card, despite being a prelim bout.

Should the fight between Pettis and Cerrone be the last bout of the latter's octagon career, his record number of fights, wins, bonuses and knockdowns will undoubtedly leave a lasting legacy on the UFC and the lightweight division. Perhaps, this will be 'Cowboy's' last showdown and justifiably so.

By Bradley Beecham

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