He’s had 11 FIGHTS since McGregor last won a bout – the facts you need to know about ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone before UFC 246
As one of the biggest sports stars on the planet, Conor McGregor will be a familiar face to fans tuning in to watch him at UFC 246 this weekend, although his opponent Donald Cerrone is someone far less known outside MMA circles.
'The Notorious' Conor McGregor is back, as the Irishman prepares to headline the first UFC event of 2020. But in case you were wondering about his opponent, he too has etched his name into the MMA history books, just like McGregor.
#1 Cerrone joined the UFC through the WEC merger
Beginning in 2001, over the course of the decade World Extreme Cagefighting would slowly establish itself as the world's premier MMA organization for fighters at 155 lbs and below. Among the many future UFC staples would be Donald Cerrone.
Cerrone began his professional MMA career in February 2006 and went 7-0 before joining the WEC the following year. From there, he would enjoy a nine-fight career in the promotion that saw him challenge for the title on three separate occasions. Unfortunately for the Denver, Colorado native, those would be the only fights he lost during his time in the WEC.
In 2010, the WEC was bought out by the UFC and their roster was absorbed, leading to the legend of the man known as Cowboy.
#2 Cerrone is a well-known adrenaline junkie
When the abbreviation 'BMF' was coined by Dana White and the UFC, it felt kind of odd for it to be used without Cerrone's permission. Simply put because he has his own training facility in Santa Fe, New Mexico which is literally a ranch… The BMF Ranch, that is.
Cerrone doesn't have his nickname just for his fight anybody, anywhere, anytime type of attitude and style, but because he also is quite the cowboy in regular life.
From ranching, riding bulls, sky diving, deep-sea diving, and various other wild activities, 'Cowboy' has about as wide of a range of a storybook as anyone in the sport.
#3 Cerrone was a longtime member of JacksonWink MMA
When it comes to some of the very best gyms and coaching staff in the history of the sport, few if any have had the same level of success as the team ran by Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn.
The duo has trained several of the sport's greatest to ever do it ranging from the likes of Jon Jones, Rashad Evans, Holly Holm, Georges St-Pierre, and Frank Mir just to name a few. Also, a part of that stable for the better part of his career was the WEC alum in Cerrone.
Unfortunately, the bond between all involved was broken leading into Cerrone's 2018 encounter with Mike Perry who had just recently joined on. In the end, Cerrone got the last laugh as he submitted Perry in the opening round via armbar. But if it wasn't for all the time he spent with Jackson and Winkeljohn growing up in his MMA career, he surely might not have ended up as successful as he turned out to be.
#4 Cerrone has the most fights and wins in UFC history
The Cowboy mentality has become somewhat of a label for all fighters who fight frequently and that's because of the man himself.
If he could he would fight every weekend but even without that option, Cerrone has set the bar high with 23 career wins in the UFC. And that's very likely to be extended before he calls it quits.
When it comes to the most fights overall inside the Octagon, Cerrone is tied with his fellow lightweight, Jim Miller, at 33.
Despite his age of 36 years old, Cerrone has been able to remain a top fighter whether that's being competitive at 155 or 170-pounds. And although he may be seeing the end of the road clearer more now than ever, it's safe to assume we'll still be getting a couple more years out of him.
#5 Cerrone is tied for most fights in a single year
When Cowboy joined the UFC in 2011, he wasted no time getting to work.
As a rookie, the former three-time WEC title challenger would go on to fight an insane five times his first year with the UFC. In the first of those five, he would pick up victories with three coming via finish. Two of which saw him score submissions over Dennis Siver and Paul Kelly with the other being a TKO of Charles Oliveira.
With his name in the running for fighter of the year with such great activity, it all came to a halt in his last bout of 2011 when he suffered a unanimous decision defeat to Nate Diaz. To this day, it could still be argued that that fight was the one with the most heat surrounding it for Cerrone in the UFC.
#6 Of Cerrone's 36 wins, 17 have come via submission
Cerrone has proven himself to be one of the most exciting fighters each and every time out. He can finish his opponents in more ways than one and when he's in the zone, he's a tough nut to crack.
Despite the fact that he's often thought of as a striker, which isn't wrong to say, Cowboy actually has more victories via submission than knockouts. And by a decent number.
Of his 36 wins, 17 have ended by submission with 10 ending by TKO or KO. Generally, Cerrone has used his striking to set up his submissions by hurting his opponents and then finishing them on the mat. But he's a second degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and has proven more often than not that he shouldn't be messed with on the ground.
#7 Cerrone holds the records for knockdowns, finishes, and bonuses
To just rebound off of No. 5, No. 4 further elaborates on the kind of style and fight you get with Donald Cerrone. He likes to get dirty and bloody up his opponents and as a result, he's had some pretty good outcomes.
Among his many accolades in the UFC record books, the ones that may stand out the most are his unmatched 20 knockdowns and 16 finishes. As a by-product of his ability to hurt his opponents, it's bolstered the numbers in his bank account as he's picked up 18 bonuses. Whether that's been for knockout, submission, performance, or fight.
#8 Cerrone has only competed for a UFC title once
After Cowboy's loss to Diaz at the end of 2011, he would go 3-2 before really finding his stride again. This started at the end of 2013 when he defeated Evan Dunham with a second-round triangle choke.
For Cerrone, the win was the start of an undeniable title fight earning seven-fight win streak. And a title fight is just what he got.
At the end of 2015, Cerrone took on the last man to defeat him prior to his streak in the new champion Rafael dos Anjos. Once again, the Brazilian would get the better of his American counterpart but this time even more impressively. Dos Anjos would finish Cerrone by TKO thanks to a body kick followed up by punches in just 66 seconds.
After that, Cerrone would make his move to the welterweight division where he went on another impressive run.
#9 Cerrone had never lost back to back fights until 2017
Despite getting back on track in super impressive fashion at welterweight, all good things end at some point.
After racking up four straight wins via finish, three of which came by strikes, Cerrone ran into the future BMF champ Jorge Masvidal.
The fight would be Cerrone's first back in his home of Denver in five years. With the spotlight on, Masvidal would end up being the one to shine brightest.
After almost finishing the fight at the very end of the first round, Masvidal did so a minute into the second as he pummeled the still dazed Cowboy. Thus making him the first man to stop Cerrone with strikes to the head.
In an attempted rebound, Cerrone fought the recently dethroned welterweight champion, Robbie Lawler. Unable to edge out the decision, Cerrone took a unanimous decision loss. It was the first losing streak of his career. Going into the Masvidal fight he was 32-7 with no back to back losses in those total 39 fights.
#10 Cerrone has fought 11 times since McGregor won the lightweight title
In November 2016 at UFC 205, Conor McGregor made history by becoming the first fighter to hold two UFC titles at the same time. He did so by defeating lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez on that fateful night in Madison Square Garden.
However, since then McGregor has been stripped of both of his titles and has only fought once which was when he was submitted in the fourth round of his title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. As for Cerrone, on the other hand, it's been an entirely different story.
Cerrone fought the month after McGregor's big title win and since then has gone on to fight a total of 11 times since McGregor defeated Alvarez. The craziest thing about that is probably the fact that McGregor has 11 fights in his UFC career in total. We always know who the more active fighter is going into Donald Cerrone fights but it really stands out for this next one.