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Cerrone eyes lightweight return after equalling UFC record with superb first-round finish

“Khabib, I’m coming, baby. I ain’t scared to fight you.”

PA-17442405 Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone Source: Neil Davidson/The Canadian Press/PA Images

AFTER SUFFERING THREE consecutive defeats, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone (33-10-1) returned to winning ways in last night’s UFC Fight Night 126 main event in Austin, Texas.

With just two seconds of the first round remaining, referee Herb Dean intervened to bring a halt to Cerrone’s welterweight clash with Yancy Medeiros (15-5-1). Cowboy dropped Medeiros with a powerful right and sealed the deal with ground and pound.

The win was Cerrone’s 20th in the UFC since his February 2011 debut. It means he’s now tied with Georges St-Pierre and Michael Bisping for the most wins in the history of the leading organisation in mixed martial arts.

It was a much-needed victory for the 34-year-old veteran, who endured a dismal 2017 during which he went 0-3 by suffering losses to Jorge Masvidal, Robbie Lawler and Darren Till.

Speaking afterwards on FOX Sports 1, Cerrone revealed his intention to return to the lightweight division, insisting that he’s keen on a shot at the undefeated Khabib Nurmagoemdov, who’s due to fight Tony Ferguson in April — a bout the UFC have said will be for Conor McGregor’s lightweight belt.

Cerrone has fought eight times at 170 pounds since moving up from the 155-pound division after losing a lightweight title bout to Rafael dos Anjos in December 2015.

“I want 155 [pounds],” Cerrone said. “I want to go get that belt. Khabib, I’m coming, baby. I’m coming. I ain’t scared to fight you.”

He added: “These big old boys hit hard and they’re a lot bigger. I woke up at 168 [pounds], made weight easy. I wish there was a [165-pound] weight class. UFC, could we get a 165 weight class, please? Because that would be cool.

“I’ll just fight whoever they tell me. They’ll call me and tell me ‘we need you at 170’ and I’ll be like, ‘okay’. I’ll take any fight. They all pay the same to me so it doesn’t matter what it is.”

Last night’s bill may have lacked star power but it was an entertaining card nevertheless, with eight of the 12 bouts ending inside the distance, including six first-round finishes.

Sage Northcutt kicked off the main card by earning a close decision win over Thibault Gouti, with popular heavyweight Derrick Lewis rebounding from his defeat to Mark Hunt last June by stopping Marcin Tybura via third-round TKO.

UFC Fight Night 126 results

  • Donald Cerrone def. Yancy Medeiros via TKO (punches) after 4:58 of round one
  • Derrick Lewis def. Marcin Tybura via TKO (punches) after 2:48 of round three
  • James Vick def. Francisco Trinaldo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Curtis Millender def. Thiago Alves via KO (knee) after 4:17 of round two
  • Brandon Davis def. Steven Peterson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-26)
  • Sage Northcutt def. Thibault Gouti via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Carlos Diego Ferreira def. Jared Gordon via TKO (punches) after 1:58 of round one
  • Geoff Neal def. Brian Camozzi via submission (bulldog choke) after 2:48 of round one
  • Roberto Sanchez def. Joby Sanchez via submission (rear-naked choke) after 1:50 of round one
  • Lucie Pudilová def. Sarah Moras via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
  • Alex Morono def. Josh Burkman via submission (guillotine choke) after 2:12 of round one
  • Oskar Piechota def. Tim Williams via KO (punches) after 1:54 of round one

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Paul Dollery

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