The lightweight division was put on red alert last night when Donald Cerrone knocked out Yancy Medeiros at UFC Fight Night 126 and announced that he will moving back down to 155-pounds to pursue the championship.
Cerrone, 34, snapped a three-fight losing skid at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas and called out feared lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov in the FS1 post-fight interview.
“I want [155 pounds]. I want to go get that belt,” Cerrone said shortly after his first-round TKO over Medeiros, per MMA Weekly’s Damon Martin. “Khabib [Nurmagomedov], I’m coming baby. I’m coming. I ain’t scared to fight you.”
"I want 155, I want that belt. @TeamKhabib, I'm coming. I ain't scared to fight..."— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) February 19, 2018
Raise your hand if you're down for a Khabib vs. @cowboycerrone fight! https://t.co/tfHXmnxyW0
Nurmagomedov, 29, will look to extend his win streak to 26-0 and become the ‘undisputed’ lightweight champion when he takes on interim titleholder Tony Ferguson at UFC 223 on April 7. The proud Dagestani and Sambo world champion is widely considered one of the best grapplers in the sport and has manhandled most of his opponents.
Cerrone, who trains out of Jackson-Wink MMA academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has strong defensive grappling and a slick Muay Thai game, making him a threat to any grappler in the lightweight division.
The MMA veteran has spent the bulk of his career at lightweight and admits that his transition to welterweight was a tough one.
“These big old boys hit hard and they’re a lot bigger,” Cerrone said. “Like 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? Cause that would be cool.”
With that said, Cerrone has a reputation as one of the most active fighters on the UFC roster and is still open to competing at 170-pounds in the future.
“I’ll just fight whatever they tell me. They’ll call me and tell me ‘we need you at 170’ and I’ll be like OK.” I’ll take any fight. They all pay the same to me so it don’t matter what it is.”
Cerrone, a former lightweight title challenger, is currently ranked at No. 11 in the official UFC welterweight rankings.