On Thursday morning, Donald Cerrone took to Instagram with a post that seemed to imply that he’s returning to the UFC lightweight division after a lengthy stint at welterweight.
The one drawback of Cerrone’s famously busy schedule is that it means he’s already fought many of the lightweight division’s top players. The good news is that there are still a few lightweight stars Cerrone has yet to meet in the cage, including several that have risen to prominence during his sojourn in the welterweight division.
Without further ado, here are three potential options for Donald Cerrone’s return to the lightweight division.
Former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, who currently holds the number two spot in the lightweight division, might seem like a bit of step up for Cerrone, who lost four of his last five fights in the welterweight division. Yet amid talks of a potential Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor lightweight title fight, Ferguson has been left without many viable options. Though Cerrone would be a high-risk, low-reward opponent for him, this is a matchup that would give Ferguson the chance to reassert himself as the lightweight division’s top contender with a win over a big name. It’s also the sort of rankings-be-damned fight that fans might initially criticize, but ultimately find themselves salivating over.
Al Iaquinta was supposed to battle Justin Gaethje in the main event of the UFC’s upcoming stop in Lincoln, Nebraska. For reasons not yet known, however, he was plucked from this matchup, and replaced by James Vick. Provided Iaquinta hasn’t been given the Leslie Smith treatment and invited to take his services elsewhere, he’d make an awesome welcome committee for Cerrone’s return to the lightweight division. Let these two all-action fan favorites duke it out in a Fight Night main event sometime this fall.
I know what you’re thinking: Dan Hardy hasn’t fought since 2012, and he’s always fought at welterweight. Well, let me remind you that Hardy has recently been flirting with the idea of a return to action — possibly as soon as this November — and he’s also suggested his potential return could occur in the lightweight division. Who better to welcome “The Outlaw” back to the cage than “Cowboy?” It’d be a Wild West style shoot-out that would most assuredly result in premium excitement. Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for this exciting matchup — this one is the brainchild of Jim Edwards of MMANytt.com.
The true beauty of the gunslinger we call Cowboy, of course, is that he matches up well with pretty much anybody. Whether its at lightweight or welterweight, the UFC matchmaker can really do no wrong.
If Donald Cerrone does indeed return to the lightweight division, who do you want to see him fight?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/28/2018.