Is Cowboy Back in the Mix?

Donald Cerrone wins at UFC Austin

Is Cowboy Cerrone Back?

A couple of days have passed since Cowboy Cerrone earned his first victory inside the octagon since the end of 2016. A three fight losing skid wounded him and many felt Yancy Medeiros could finish the job Saturday night. However, the skill Cerrone possesses with the experience he’s accrued over the years make him lethal at any stage. Unfortunately for his Hawaiian adversary, that fact became all too real.

A first round KO courtesy of an oh-so tight right hand did the job. But now we must move on from the performance. And so must he.

The win was impressive but will it kick start another classic Cowboy win-streak? Or is it a flash in the pan leading to more disappointing losses in the future?

Shall I take a stab at it??

That was rhetorical let’s dive in….

His Win at UFC Austin

The fight didn’t last long. So it would be difficult foe me to determine whether he was truly on top of his game at UFC Austin. The match-up was a difficult one and the fight played out that way. While Cowboy landed some clean shots early on in the fight, Medeiros had some positive exchanges in there as well. His pressure payed dividends as it allowed him to pass beyond the outer orbit of Cerrone’s attacks and force the hands to be his defenders.

That ended in a pretty nasty knockout that proved Cowboy had more than some long combinations in space and an underrated ground game. But the performance wasn’t amongst his best.

The absence of those long combinations was a bit concerning, his chin was there to be hit as it always is and his footwork appeared to break down a bit at times. The holes were there. However, while the performance wasn’t what we come to expect from Cowboy, it was exciting to see for one particular reason.

The pressure he experienced was serious to say the least. Medeiros managed to say calm and methodical walking forward but drove him back nonetheless. This is Cerrone’s kryptonite. This is what lost him the RDA fights, the Masvidal fight, the Lawler fight and the Till fight. In case your not paying attention, that’s every fight he’s lost in the past 5 years. Pressure is the way you beat Cowboy, but he overcame it and managed to take victory from Yancy’s active hands. Very encouraging from the universally loved contender.

But should contender still describe Cowboy?

What’s Next for Cowboy?

Going into the fight he was ranked #11 in the world at welterweight and his opponent, #15. So, with that win, movement in the rankings is likely but only in a very small dose. Still, Cowboy is always a fan favorite and that will help him earn big fights in the future. Those fights will do one of two things: expose him as an over-the-hill competitor or show he’s still got what it takes to defeat the very best put in front of him. As a massively biased fan of the sport, I surely hope it’s the latter. But who can get him closer to the title picture without throwing him too deep into the waters at 170?

Now i’ve heard Neil Magny’s name thrown around a couple of times after the fight. It would certainly serve as an interesting main event when the time comes. And as Magny sits at #8 on the rankings, the opportunity for rankings advancement would be real.

But, there’s one fight I really dig and i’ve got to throw out there despite it having a limited chance of coming to fruition for Cowboy’s next fight.

Carlos Condit has a fight booked for April against Matt Brown in what is sure to be a barn-burner. Now Cowboy has already beaten Brown pretty recently, so that’s not an option. But if Carlos Condit defeats “The Immortal”, the fight to make is Cowboy x Condit. My heart yearns for this fight and i’m a bit agitated that I even noticed the possibility. Mostly because Cowboy may want to stay more active than he’s been recently and given the date of Carlos’s fight plus his long breaks between fights, it’s unlikely these two meet next.

But if Cowboy would just wait until the summer and Condit gets the win, all hell will break loose at international fight week.

Is Cowboy Still A Contender?

Time will tell. I know it’s a cop-out answer but the truth is woven deep within that phrase.

There’s few men who hold the deep run in the UFC that Cowboy does. His win at UFC Austin tied him with the most wins in UFC history, alongside GSP and Bisping, and he’ll get a chance to break it soon. But CAN he still be a contender?

Absolutely.

As long as Cowboy is around, he’ll be considered for the biggest fights on the biggest nights. And that’s really all you need. Guys like James Vick, though unfairly overlooked, have a difficult time rising because they can’t get big name opponents on big cards. But Cowboy won’t have that problem.

So he’s primed for another run. All that’s required of him is a few wins and the title will come calling. The future is merky but very fascinating. And I for one am happy there’s still hope.

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