We all know that Cowboy’s not going to retire. Now that that’s out the way.
After losing a hard five-round war to British young gun Leon Edwards, and dropping four of his last five including two knockouts at the hands of young prospects, it seems that the “most active fighter in the UFC” may have left his best days behind him. But is there still the potential for a return to form for the crowd favourite, or is he being sent to the gatehouse as a punching bag for those hoping to jump into the rankings?
Although looking dangerous at times, Cowboy was outclassed by Edwards who controlled the fight from the outset, cut Cerrone up within the first three minutes and landed fast nasty elbows in the clinch. The key seemed to be the speed which the 26-year-old Brit has in spades. Cerrone looked to be just too slow and lacked the “snap” in his kicks that long-time fans know so well, and which has served knockouts most recently to Mat Brown and Rick Story. Both these men are arguably past their prime and are undoubtedly no longer considered “young” as fighters.
However, a win over Cowboy is still a meaningful thing with both Jorge Masvidal and Darren Till getting top contender fights after defeating the man. What he lacks in speed he makes up for with veteran cunning and pure toughness. The logical step would be to drop back down to lightweight where he went 8-0 between 2013 and 2015. The smaller lighter opponents would pack less of a punch and there are fights aplenty for a legend such as Cowboy. An intriguing matchup would be a rematch with Nate Diaz (although whilst writing this I noticed that Diaz had been brawling again). After talking extraordinary s#%t and knocking off cowboy’s hat, Diaz proceeded to slap him around the octagon in a fight Cowboy no doubt wants to redeem.
Although said time and again, it seems the perfect opportunity for Cowboy to take some time off now. With a baby on the way and a string of losses at his back, a break could give him time to re-evaluate his career and possibly get a brain scan. It seems that the amount of damage Cowboy has taken over the last few years could have had some serious consequences on the legend who has fought an astonishing seventeen times in the last five years. He has given the fans everything and owes them nothing.
But it seems he is chasing two records he richly deserves, most wins in UFC history (he is currently tied with Michael Bisping and GSP at 20) and most finishes in UFC history (again he is tied for first place with Anderson Sliva and Vitor Belfort at 14). A drop to lightweight after some time off (lasting more than a couple of months) and possibly a drop in the level of competition could easily see him achieve those goals, but it seems unlikely that Cowboy has any intention of doing any of that. He is who he is, and he does what he does, namely fight anyone, anytime, anywhere.