UFC Denver: Donald Cerrone and Mike Perry Look to Settle JacksonWink Feud

UFC Denver Donald Cerrone Mike Perry UFC Brooklyn
Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Donald Cerrone will be up against Mike Perry and his long-time team JacksonWink at UFC Denver in a feud that has been brewing all summer.

Over the summer, one of the most surprising grudge matches to materialize was between former teammates Donald Cerrone and Mike Perry. On the part of Cerrone, talk circulated about the lack of loyalty from his longtime team in JacksonWink. While there isn’t a personal animosity toward Perry, there has been criticism on behalf of JacksonWink about Cerrone’s respect as a teammate. Both sides will get a chance to have the final word when the two meet in the co-main event of UFC Denver.

For his entire career, Donald Cerrone’s evolution as a fighter has followed a parallel path with the growth of his longtime team, JacksonWink. With him from his time as a WEC standout to being a UFC contender, “Cowboy” was one of the notable names at the gym that helped to build it’s reputation as arguably the most impressive team in modern MMA. As the years continued, Cerrone’s penchant for being active also became prolific. He is tied with Georges St. Pierre and Michael Bisping for most wins in the UFC at 20, a remarkable feat considering since he has had nearly six years less in the company than both men.

But as Cerrone transitioned from lightweight title contender to welterweight stand-out, the fortunes of JacksonWink took a turn. The once prolific team has struggled to produce consistent success across the roster and their dominance as a major player in the MMA landscape is nowhere near where it was earlier in the decade.

More recently, Cerrone built his own training facility, the BMF Ranch, roughly 30 miles out from JacksonWink. Along with the advantage of his own space, Cerrone has looked to promote his own MMA events for up-and-coming fighters and showcasing those who have been working at the gym. At the same time, he continues to work with long-time coach Greg Jackson to prepare for his fights.

Earlier this year, welterweight stand-out “Platinum” Mike Perry joined JacksonWink and talk of a fight between himself and Cerrone soon began to circulate.  Cerrone took his concern to head coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn that he felt it unfair that Perry could prepare to fight him at JacksonWink considering that he was a long-time member of the team. As has been thoroughly reported, Winkeljohn elected to move forward and allow Perry to continue training with the team while Jackson offered to go to Cerrone’s facility and train him there.

For his part, Perry became the middleman in the feud with Cerrone and his long-time coaches. Mike Winkeljohn spoke out on the situation and stated Cerrone spent hardly any time at JacksonWink. Furthermore, they stated that Cerrone was selfish as a teammate and that he never helped others prepare for their own training camps.

Perry is looking to reinvigorate his career after being locked into his place of being an active fighter who operates outside the rankings. He is 1-2 since last December with his only victory coming in an exciting contest against Paul Felder who stepped up to welterweight on short notice earlier this summer. A victory would help to generate momentum at a time when there is expected to be a lot of movement in the rankings.

Stylistically, the bout figures to be an exciting contest. Both men like to keep the fight standing and put together devastating combinations in the center of the Octagon. For Cerrone, the key will be to keep the fight at mid-range where he can attack with his full arsenal of punches and kicks. Should he choose to go to the ground, he has an impressive submission game that could be crucial should he be unable to implement his strategy on the feet.

Mike Perry’s key to victory, as in all of his fights, is to use forward pressure and throw powerful shots in the pocket to break down opponents. He will have a willing dance partner in Cerrone, but the biggest challenge will be to not take too much damage trying to get inside. To shut down Cerrone, he should back him up to the fence where he neutralizes part of Cerrone’s arsenal and can punish him with strikes.

Mike Perry’s penchant for putting on exciting fights will keep him on the roster win or lose, but coming up short here may well affect his placement on cards going into 2019. For Cerrone, he stands at 1-4 since 2017 and another loss will have many wondering what’s left for him moving forward in the UFC. He will get the advantage of fighting in front of his hometown of Denver as he looks to turn his fortunes around in the grudge match.