If Donald Cerrone’s career were to end tomorrow, he would go down in history as one of the most entertaining and committed fighters in mixed martial arts history. As such, he stands as an intriguing test for one of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s up-and-coming stars.
Cerrone will meet the undefeated Darren Till in the UFC Fight Night 118 main event this Saturday at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland. “Cowboy” finds himself on the first two-fight losing streak of his career, having suffered consecutive defeats to former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and American Top Team mainstay Jorge Masvidal. Cerrone, 34, operates out of the powerhouse Jackson-Wink MMA academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he has shared the gym with two-time UFC light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones, onetime UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm and former World Extreme Cagefighting welterweight titlist Carlos Condit, among others. He has compiled a 19-6 record since joining the UFC roster in 2011, wins over Charles Oliveira, Evan Dunham, Edson Barboza, Jim Miller, Eddie Alvarez at Matt Brown highlighting his successful run inside the Octagon.
As he approaches his five-round showdown with Till, here are five things you might not know about Cerrone:
1. He has thus far fallen short when the stakes were highest.
Cerrone owns a disappointing 0-4 record in major title fights. He lost to Jamie Varner and Benson Henderson (twice) in the UFC and to Rafael dos Anjos in the UFC. All four of those bouts were contested at 155 pounds.
2. The wins have piled up.
A longtime Greg Jackson understudy who has become one of the most prolific fighters in the sport, Cerrone has amassed 19 victories in the Ultimate Fighting Championship -- a number that ties him with Georges St. Pierre and Demian Maia for second on the promotion’s all-time list. Only current middleweight champion Michael Bisping (20) has more.
3. He has grown accustomed to home cooking.
The fight with Till will mark the first time Cerrone has fought outside of North America in more than a decade. In fact, 41 of his 42 career bouts have taken place in either the United States or Canada. Cerrone made his only appearance outside those bounds at a Greatest Common Multiple event on June 9, 2007 in Tokyo. There, he submitted Yasunori Kanehara with a second-round triangle choke.
4. Tapouts are common occurrences in his fights.
Despite his background as a national muay Thai champion, Cerrone has twice as many wins by submission than he does by knockout or technical knockout. He has recorded eight victories by triangle choke, five by rear-naked choke and three by armbar.
5. He fancies himself a hired gun.
Cerrone has earned $815,000 in post-fight performance bonuses while competing in the UFC and WEC. He has been awarded “Fight of the Night” nine times, “Performance of the Night” five times, “Knockout of the Night” three times and “Submission of the Night” twice.