What next for Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone?

Long revered as one of the most game, brash and likeable characters the UFC‘s ever seen, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone got back to winning ways last night in his UFC Fight Night Austin headliner against the dangerous Yancy Mederios, after three consecutive losses at Welterweight. The former 155lbs title challenger snapped his aforementioned skid with just two seconds remaining in the opening round, clipping the Hawaii star before finishing with ground and pound. Losing a narrow decision to former Welterweight boogeyman Robbie Lawler in between two stoppage defeats to Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal and a recent defeat to the uprising Liverpudlian Darren Till. After equalling both Michael Bisping and Georges St. Pierre for UFC victories with his twentieth last night, who’s next for the fan favourite Cerrone?

Santiago Ponzinibbio

A tremendous striking showcase, but a hugely dangerous one for ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, with Ponzinibbio fresh from a dominant decision win over the feared ‘Platinum’ Mike Perry. Both men rely on their striking in the majority of their octagon walks, with Cerrone the more adept grappler with 16 separate submission victories, his most recent coming by way of a nasty triangle against his fellow ‘Cowboy’, Alex Oliveira. Santiago ‘Gente Boa’ Ponzinibbio has the much crisper and cleaner boxing technique compared to Sunday’s opponent Medeiros and would cause the 34-year-old Cerrone major problems in the stand-up exchanges.

Gunnar Nelson

Both men are really capable grapplers, two of the best at 170lbs today apart from only the elite Demian Maia. In this one, Cerrone may, in fact, hold the trump card in the striking department but ‘Gunnis’ Karate background is not to be underestimated. In his most recent UFC appearance, Nelson was stopped in the first round by the previously mentioned Ponzinibbio, despite multiple eye pokes to the Iceland native.

Khabib Nurmagomedov (Lightweight)

A hugely unrealistic meeting, but one that the veteran Cerrone has called for, is a meeting with the undefeated Lightweight title challenger Khabib Nurmagomedov, in a possible return to his previous home of 155lbs. Scheduled to face Tony Ferguson in the UFC 223 headliner, Khabib has steamrolled each of his Lightweight counterparts to date, but after his win over Yancy Medeiros, ‘Cowboy’ called out the Dagestani mauler. “I want ’55, I want to go get that belt. Khabib, I’m coming baby, I’m coming. I ain’t scared to fight you.” Rough night in store for Cerrone if this match goes down in my opinion.

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