However, after the fight, the winningest fighter in UFC history announced he would be moving back down to lightweight. ‘Cowboy’ then proceeded to callout current 155-pound champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The lightweight division is arguably the most stacked weight class in the UFC. With Cerrone going down, there is a lot of potential options for who he could fight.
Here are four possible options.
How about Justin Gaethje vs. Cerrone.
This scrap has fight of the night written all over it. Justin Gaethje is currently ranked sixth in the lightweight division and is coming off of a knockout win against James Vick in August.
Cerrone said he would like to fight on the New Year’s card — UFC 232 on Dec. 29 — meaning the timing could be right for both fighters. If Cerrone were to fight Gaethje, a win would put him in the top-10 of the lightweight rankings and possibly in the top-five.
Gaethje seems like a logical fight for Cerrone, and that is a contest many fans would love to see.
Dustin Poirier was supposed to take on Nate Diaz at UFC 230. However, Poirier had to pull out of the fight with an injury. With that said, ‘The Diamond’ should be able to fight soon. Poirier is close to a title shot, however, with the unknown certainty of Nurmagomedov, he may require another statement win to get that shot.
One way to do so is to welcome former title challenger in Cerrone back to the division.
The fight could go either way as Cerrone can finish the fight anywhere, while Poirier has proven he is a knockout artist at lightweight.
Following his win at UFC Denver, Cerrone claimed he has an opponent in mind. He described the opponent as a ‘very exciting’ fighter. Well, do you know who fits that description? Former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion, Conor McGregor.
McGregor made his return to the Octagon at UFC 229 where he lost by submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov. The Irish superstar has clamoured for a rematch, however, that seems unlikely.
The best move for McGregor is to fight another fighter and work his way back up to a title shot. McGregor has a chance to show everyone he has gotten better on the ground by fighting Cerrone who is well versed in grappling.
If Cerrone comes out victorious he is the new number one contender. If McGregor wins, he could potentially earn the next title shot. It is a win-win for both fighters and a fight that makes sense.
Nate Diaz 2
Nate Diaz and Cerrone have already fought before. The fight happened at UFC 141 in 2011 where the fight was the fight of the night. It was an incredible back-and-forth fight which Diaz ended up winning by decision.
Since then, both fighters have gotten better and it is a rematch fans would surely like to see. However, no one truly knows if Diaz will ever return, making this fight seem like a bit of a longshot.
Ultimately, Cerrone has options for his return to lightweight and with a win over any of the aforementioned four fighters, he becomes a real title contender. The winningest fighter in UFC history adds another high-level fighter to the lightweight division.
Who do you think former 155-pound title challenger Donald Cerrone should fight ins his return to lightweight?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/12/2018.