UFC: Donald Cerrone a Good, but Overrated Fighter

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Cowboy Cerrone, UFC Denver
Cowboy Cerrone Credit: Mike Straus/Cageside Press

In the aftermath of UFC 246, Donald Cerrone’s performance immediately came under fire, from inside and outside the MMA community. Maybe we’ve just built up a fan favorite a little too much.

Many MMA fans are still talking about Conor McGregor’s epic return, where he defeated Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds. McGregor did it flawlessly, never taking a hit in the short fight. There was a lot of hype for Cerrone coming into this fight, and how it was the biggest fight of his career. It was McGregor, the biggest superstar in the sport, versus Cerrone, the fighter with the most wins and most fights in UFC history.

So why would a headline advocate that Cerrone is overrated if he has the most wins in the biggest MMA organization?

Cerrone has an MMA record of 36-14 (1). He holds the UFC records with most wins (23), finishes (16), post-fight bonus awards (18) and bouts (34).

While Cerrone is a good fighter and deserves credit for the records he owns, the stats are padded a bit. I know many will disagree with my assessment. But there is a reason why Cerrone has never held a UFC belt and has struggled in big fights recently.

Since December of 2015, which was the most recent title match he had, Cerrone is 8-8 in his last 16 UFC fights.

Wins

  1. Alex Oliveira, February 2016
  2. Patrick Cote, June 2016
  3. Rick Story, August 2016
  4. Matt Brown, December 2016
  5. Yancy Medeiros, February 2018
  6. Mike Perry, November 2018
  7. Alexander Hernandez, January 2019
  8. Al Iaquinta, May 2019

 

Losses

  1. Rafael dos Anjos, December 2015
  2. Jorge Masvidal, January 2017
  3. Robbie Lawler, July 2017
  4. Darren Till, October 2017
  5. Leon Edwards, June 2018
  6. Tony Ferguson, June 2019
  7. Justin Gaethje, September 2019
  8. Conor McGregor, January 2020

 

As you can see above, Cerrone has picked up wins against some solid fighters. But when it comes to fighting top-tier fighters, Cerrone has not been able to get the job done.

Prior to his 8-8 record since late 2015, Cerrone won eight straight fights. Five of them were finishes. He rebounded with a 4-0 record in 2016. Since then, it has been tough for ‘Cowboy.’

Cerrone currently rides a three-fight losing streak, in which he has been finished in all three losses against top contenders at lightweight in Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje and McGregor. Cerrone has a lot of wins against second and third-tier fighters. When he is challenged with a top-notch fighter at lightweight or welterweight, Cerrone has fell short.

In comparison to team sports, it would be like a team dominating in the regular season and owning one of the best records in the league, but suffering a loss in the first game of the playoffs.

It is hard to figure out why Cerrone has a hard time when he finds himself in a bigger spotlight against highly-ranked fighters. But the truth of the matter is, Cerrone, who has the most wins in UFC history, has struggled immensely recently in his marquee fights. UFC 246 was just another example of that.

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