With record-tying win, Donald Cerrone proves he's still the 'Cowboy' – at least for a little while longer

Donald Cerrone showed up to UFC Fight Night 126 looking like a Chuck Norris stunt double on Walker, Texas Ranger then walked out several hours later with a first-round TKO finish of Yancy Medeiros and a share of the UFCs all-time wins record.Not bad for a guy who came in dragging a belly full of nerves and a three-fight losing streak (via Twitter):

You dont see a ton of main-event fighters in the UFC who were as desperate for a win as Cerrone(32-10 MMA, 19-7 UFC) was in Austin, Texas, on Sunday night. It wasnt just about tying the record (though thats nice, especially when youre still young and spry enough to add to it). It was also about reasserting an identity.
Youve seen how it happens. A once-great fighter gets a little older, lets a few losses pile up one after the other, and soon theyre not talking about who he is anymore theyre talking about who he used to be.It happened to Cerrone after his TKO loss to Darren Till. Looking to take some of the shine off his rivals win, Mike Perry got on the mic after that fight and dismissed Till by dismissing Cerrone.
Yeah, he looked good against Donald, Perry said following UFC Fight Night 118 in Gdansk, Poland. Against Donald Cerrone not against the Cowboy.
Among fans on social media, you could see the questions creeping in. Is this the end of the old Cowboy, the guy who would throw down with anyone and win more than he lost? Had that era finally come to a close, replaced by something far less fun and way more predictably depressing?
Thats what losing will do. It sows doubts. Maybe it had even sowed some for Cerrone, who talked before this fight like he wanted to not lose again almost as much as he wanted to win. Medeiros didnt figure to be an easy night of work, but Cerrones stinging right hand took his legs away from him and few well-placed follow-ups stopped him two seconds before the horn to end the first.You know the relief after that must have been powerful, since Cerrone didnt even really mind when Medeiros went and kissed his grandmother.At this point, the wins and the finishes add to Cerrones already extensive statistical greatness, but maybe more importantly they buy him time and space. He can breathe again. The career panic meter just got dialed down. Victory is no longer just a distant memory.
Where Cerrone goes from here is as uncertain as ever. The UFC seems to see him as a main-event staple, the kind of good-time guy who can be counted on to lend his name and his highlight reel to mid-tier free TV cards, which have themselves become a sort of bottomless pit of constant need for the UFC. What it doesnt see him as is an elite fighter or, at least anymore, potential championship material.
Maybe thats just fine for Cerrone. As long as hell keep showing up and peppering some wins among the inevitable losses, the UFC will be glad to have him. Lord knows it could use 10 more fighters just like him.
Itll also be glad to keep matching him up with the young up-and-comers, the guys still looking to make their names off someone elses, which is a hard way to earn a living when youre in your mid-30s with this many miles on the odometer.
Still, if Cerrone told us anything on Sunday, its that hes not done yet. That all-time wins record is bound to see a few more additions. And Cerrones loss column? Thatll probably take a few more dings along the way, too.
What else do you expect when you fight like him? Its the reason people dont get tired of seeing him, whether hes on a hot streak or a cold one. But that doesnt mean that, even after all these years, he cant still enjoy the special kind of relief from coming in out of that cold.For more onUFC Fight Night 126, check out theUFC Rumorssection of the site.

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