This past weekend we saw one of the most game fighters ride off into the sunset as Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-17-2) decided to hang up his gloves after a career that started professionally in 2006. While we may not get to see him in the octagon again, fans of Cowboy will get to see the fighter in his next endeavor as he pursuits being a movie star.
While the tenured fighter never won a UFC belt, he still left a mark on the sport that pushed the limits and boundaries of what many thought was possible for a fighter. The man lived on the edge partaking in many different extreme sports including cave diving, bull riding, and wakeboarding to say a few, but his willingness to step up and do a quick turnaround made him a fan favorite. For those that may not know, Cowboy has even moved up to 170 on several occasions fighting opponents that were much larger than him.
Donald is and will always be a fighter that lives up to his nickname daily. His any time anywhere mentality is a throwback of sorts, in an era and sport that is filled with athletes and other fighters that take time in between fights. While this was to his detriment at times, Cowboy cared more about legacy than money or belts.
While Cowboy may have never won a UFC or WEC title he came close on several occasions. In a career of 55 fights, we saw Donald submit 17 opponents, KO 10, and win 9 decisions. Some notable victories over names like Jamie Varner, Benson Henderson, Charles Oliveira, Edson Barbosa, Eddie Alvarez, and Matt Brown.
One word that will never be used to describe Donald is “boring”, during his UFC tenure he scored 17 performance bonuses (including KO, Sub, and FOTN). While he, unfortunately, leaves the sport on a 6 fight losing streak (1 NC), Donald’s legacy remains intact.
While Cerrone began as a pro in 2006, he still serves as something of a pioneer in his own right, having come up as a lightweight during a time that lighter-weight fighters were still not considered exciting, Donald helped prove that narrative false.
Joe Rogan once said that a fighter’s career should be measured by his highs and dominance. So if we were to apply that to Donald’s career, one would find a Hall of Fame-worthy resume. As a fan that grew up watching Cowboy throw leather with the best of them, I can only finish this article with one thought in mind: THANK YOU, COWBOY!