UFC Austin: Could Sunday be Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone’s last experience?

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Donald Cerrone is among the most lively fighters within the UFC, having logged 19 wins and 26 appearances since debuting with the group seven years in the past.

For the overwhelming majority of that point, the 34-yr-previous “Cowboy” has been a championship contender, first at light-weight and extra lately within the welterweight division. However after rattling off 4 consecutive victories to start out his time within the one hundred seventy-pound ranks and place himself on the fringes of title rivalry, the veteran gunslinger enters this weekend’s occasion in Austin, Tex. within the midst of the roughest patch of his profession.

After getting into 2017 on a 4-struggle profitable streak and by no means having suffered again-to-again losses, Cerrone heads into his important occasion task reverse Yancy Medeiros on Sunday on a 3-battle dropping streak. Whereas every of these setbacks have come towards prime tier welterweights — Jorge Masvidal, Robbie Lawler and Darren Until — and Cerrone is just a yr faraway from a run of finishes that had everybody buzzing about his arrival within the division, Sunday’s occasion on the Frank Erwin Middle looks like an important second in figuring out what comes subsequent for the favored all-motion fighter.

4 straight losses isn’t a dying sentence within the UFC. Though nobody needs to check these waters and lots of have been launched after fewer consecutive setbacks, Cerrone is among the hottest fighters on the roster and may take a look at fellow veterans Ross Pearson and Joshua Burkman as examples of rivals who’ve been given the chance to work via the tough patches even when the losses maintain mounting.

Pearson had dropped 4 straight heading into his assembly with Mizuto Hirota last weekend at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia. Whereas he slid down the cardboard throughout his dropping streak, the previous Final Fighter winner acquired one other probability to proper the ship and was in a position to take action towards Hirota, incomes a unanimous determination victory over the Japanese veteran, ending an almost two-yr winless drought.

As for Burkman, he’ll hit the Octagon earlier than Cerrone on Sunday, taking over Alex Morono within the second bout of the night. Simply as Pearson did last weekend, Burkman heads into the cage on a 4-battle skid and having posted only a single victory in eight appearances since returning to the group three years in the past.

Having regularly confronted stiffer competitors and boasting a stronger following than each Pearson and Burkman, Cerrone would virtually assuredly be afforded the identical alternative offered to his contemporaries if he have been to fall to Medeiros on Sunday. The truth that he’s headlining this weekend regardless of having dropped three straight illustrates the religion the group has within the Edgewood, New Mexico resident as a draw and as somebody who can be counted on to ship an entertaining efficiency each day trip, win or lose.

The extra fascinating query, nevertheless, may be whether or not or not Cerrone needs to maintain charging into the fray if the outcomes proceed to fall in his opponents’ favor?

All through his profession, Cerrone has lived by the “Anybody, Anyplace, Any Time” mantra, taking brief discover assignments and fortunately leaping into the cage towards whomever the UFC places in entrance of him.

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Most of the time, it wasn’t a problem and he got here away profitable, however the danger-reward ratio in these sorts of matchups are shifting additional out of his favor as he reaches this later stage of his profession and if Cerrone isn’t capable of get again within the win column right here, you must marvel if he’s going to be as wanting to step into the cage towards a lesser recognized expertise trying to climb the ranks by beating “Cowboy” Cerrone sooner or later?

That’s why Sunday’s bout with Medeiros is so compelling and such an important piece in figuring out the place Cerrone goes from right here.

Following his loss Until in October, Cerrone voiced his want to return to the light-weight division, however was provided the headlining slot this weekend towards Matt Brown, whom he’d beforehand defeated at UFC 206. Prepared to delay he return to the one hundred fifty five-pound ranks to run it again with “The Immortal,” Cerrone accepted, however the timing didn’t work for Brown, which left Cerrone with no dance companion for this weekend’s essential occasion.

Medeiros stepped up and enters the competition on a 3-battle profitable streak, having rattled off three straight finishes and two submit-battle bonuses since following the trail Cerrone blazed from light-weight to welterweight within the fall of 2016. The sturdy Hawaiian has all the time been an entertaining fighter and hard out, however wants a signature victory over a marquee expertise as a way to set up himself as a contender.

“Cowboy” likes to struggle and is joyful to gather paychecks and bonuses as alongside as they’re being handed out, nevertheless it’s onerous to ascertain him being enthusiastic about being the recognizable identify that will get crushed up time after time; it’s one factor once you’re arising brief towards former champions and confirmed contenders, nevertheless it’s a harder capsule to swallow whenever you’re dealing with lesser-recognized skills and nonetheless catching losses each day trip.

Whereas a slew of enjoyable matchups await him at light-weight if does certainly head again there and his reputation and years of loyal service to the UFC are positive to purchase him an extended leash than most in relation to popping out on the flawed aspect of the outcomes, how issues shake out on Sunday in Austin might go an extended option to figuring out what comes subsequent for the last true gunslinger within the UFC.