In news that will surprise absolutely no one, streaking lightweight competitor Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone will get the next UFC title shot at champion Rafael dos Anjos when both fighters return from respective injuries, tentatively sometime this fall.
With fellow no. 2-ranked challenger Khabib Nurmagomedov on the sidelines with the second straight knee injury suffered while training for two different bouts with ‘Cowboy,’ Cerrone was the only logical choice remaining after his impressive second knockout of John Makdessi at Saturday’s UFC 187 from Las Vegas.
However, UFC President Dana White made the news official to ESPN.com, noting that Cerrone looked incredible:
“‘Cowboy’ looked insanely good,” White said. “He kept his composure, put together combinations to the legs and head. He looked unbelievable. I will give you this, yes, Cowboy Cerrone is next in line for a title shot.”
The popular Cerrone, who is well-known for his thrill-seeking personality and willingness to fight anyone at anytime on short notice, revealed that he had a significant rib injury heading into the Makdessi fight that was so serious his coach Greg Jackson wanted him to pull out of the fight.
But he wouldn’t do that, instead persevering to pick up his eighth straight win and leave no doubt about his title shot. Now, he’s going to do something he’s not used to, as he has to heal up and wait for dos Anjos to do the same. That’s just fine according to Cerrone:
“I would love to wait,” Cerrone said. “Well, I’ll wait for Denver, Colorado. Can I say that? I’ll wait for Denver, Colorado.”
The scenario actually matches up well for that timeframe, as dos Anjos suffered both a torn MCL and a nose injury leading up to his shocking five round destruction of former champion Anthony Pettis at March 14’s UFC 185 from Dallas, Texas. Dos Anjos had surgery on his nose but is allowing the knee to heal on its own and is expecting to return to the cage this fall.
He already beat Cerrone by decision at UFC Fight Night 27 in August 2013, marking the end of a string where Cerrone dropped two out of three bouts that lead to the turnaround of his current surge. It’s safe to say that ‘Cowboy’ is a much different fighter than he was the first time they fought, but the same could be said about dos Anjos on almost the same level.
Who is your pick to emerge victorious with the belt when the two square off later this year?
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