Donald Cerrone file photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
As far as rematches go, this one has been about a year-and-a-half in the making.
The long awaited second showdown between Donald Cerrone and Jamie Varner is in the works for the not-yet-announced WEC 51 on Sept. 30 at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colo.
Sherdog.com has learned that at least one of the top-ranked lightweights has verbally agreed to the bout, according to sources in the fighter’s camp.
Varner and Cerrone first met at WEC 38 in January 2009, with Varner retaining his lightweight championship through a controversial split decision. The "Cowboy" landed an illegal knee to the side of Varner's head as the Arizona Combat Sports fighter got to his feet during the fifth round of their title bout. Varner was unable to continue, so the fight was scored from that point. While Varner escaped with his title, many felt that Cerrone was the stronger fighter as the bout advanced into its later stages.
After the fight it was revealed that Varner suffered a broken foot, a lesion in his eye -- which left his vision blurry for about six weeks -- and a broken hand that required two reconstructive surgeries to repair.
The two fighters waged a public war of words while Varner was shelved for nearly a year. In the meantime, Cerrone lost a closely contested interim title bout to Ben Henderson that touted as one of the best fights of 2009.
When Varner returned from injury, he suffered a third-round submission loss to Henderson in a lightweight title unification bout at WEC 46 in January. Cerrone was unable to claim the title and avenge his earlier loss to Henderson at WEC 48, falling victim to a first-round guillotine choke in the promotion's first ever pay-per-view event.
Now that Henderson seems to be firmly entrenched atop the 155-pound heap in the WEC, Varner and Cerrone are left to handle unfinished business.
Varner continues to be a magnet for controversy: His latest bout was a foul-marred contest with Kamal Shalorus at WEC 49 that ended in a draw, a decision Varner disputed immediately after the match. Varner owns wins over Sherron Leggett, former champion Rob McCullough and Marcus Hicks, as well as Cerrone in his WEC career. Prior to that he fought twice in the UFC, losing to Hermes Franca and defeating Jason Gilliam.
Cerrone owns victories over Danny Castillo, McCullough, James Krause and Ed Ratcliff during his WEC tenure.
WEC 51 will be headlined featherweight champion Jose Aldo's second title defense against "Ultimate Fighter" veteran Manny Gamburyan and former bantamweight champion Miguel Torres' return to the Octagon against Charlie Valencia. Leonard Garcia, Cerrone's teammate at Jackson's MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., is also scheduled to meet fellow striker Mark Hominick.
WEC 51 will air live on Versus.