I was at UFC Fight Night Denver and witnessed––what I consider––the rebirth of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. I believe that I saw a different Cowboy during his walkout in front of a hometown crowd. He seemed calm, confident and determined and I remember thinking that fatherhood could be a contributing factor to this seemingly reborn Cowboy.
When considering some of Cowboy’s more recent performances, and the fact that at the age of 35 he is a veteran of MMA and the UFC, it is not hard to imagine that he could be on the tail end of his career. However, with the recent birth of his first child, Dacson Danger Cerrone, it is clear that a reinvigorated Cowboy Cerrone is emerging. His performance against Mike Perry in Denver and his dominant TKO win over rising star Alexander Hernandez––on the first UFC on ESPN card––are a testament to that. Add to that the fact that he just broke the record for the most wins and finishes in UFC history and you have a recipe for the emergence of a second wave of stardom for Cowboy.
With fatherhood and two dominant wins over young lions (and all but clear confirmation on a fight being set with Conor McGregor), it appears that there is a new Cowboy in town. As I watched the recent fight between Cowboy Cerrone and Alex Hernandez, I couldn’t help rooting for Cowboy. It was as if he was being fed to the hungry young lion: much like the upcoming fight between Anderson Siva and UFC rising middleweight star Israel Adesanya. The UFC is in the business of building stars, and matching a potential future star against a well-known veteran is one way to do it. Unfortunately, sometimes those seasoned veterans do not go along with the plan (think also the Frankie Edgar vs. Yair Rodriguez fight). So now, what will the UFC do with Donald Cowboy Cerrone?
It appears that the UFC is seriously considering making a fight between Cowboy and Conor McGregor. The two had heat in the past and the style matchup is likely to yield an entertaining fight for fans, and pleasing pay-per-view numbers for the UFC: it is for this reason that I can see this matchup being made. Yes, the Khabib vs. Conor rematch would create the biggest buzz––especially considering the melee that happened after their first fight––but Cowboy has a big name in the MMA world and has many fans, so I do think that this fight between Cowboy and Conor can happen. With that being said though, it looked like Raging Al Iaquinta was going to get a fight with Conor after his win over Kevin Lee, and now it looks like that matchup is less likely to happen, so one can never tell what direction the UFC will go.
I would love to see how Cowboy would hold up in the lead-up to a fight with Conor McGregor: especially considering the barrage of insults that Conor would hurl at Cowboy and the ensuing mind games. However, the reality is that this fight may not come to be (for a variety of reasons). Matchups aside, Donald Cowboy Cerrone has shown himself to be a man on a mission and whatever the catalyst is, fatherhood or otherwise, he has put himself in a position to get some juicy matchups in the near future. There are some matchups that I would like to see, with Conor being one of them, but there are some others that also promise to get the fans’ juices flowing (more on that coming soon). Who do you think Cowboy will fight next?