After a tremendous performance at UFC 167, veteran top-10 lightweight Donald Cerrone is putting his planned move to the featherweight division on hold for now. Cerrone is scheduled to square off against Adriano Martins in a 155-pound matchup at UFC on FOX 10 in Chicago. Cerrone had indicated he was moving to 145 pounds after his fight against Evan Dunham, but some like UFC President Dana White wondered aloud about the move. Cerrone is a tall, lean lightweight at 6-foot-0, and it would be an extremely difficult weight cut to get down to the featherweight ranks.
Cerrone’s performance in Las Vegas against Dunham was such an impressive one that it made sense to remain within the lightweight ranks. “Cowboy” earned a Submission of the Night bonus for finishing the ultra-tough Dunham in the second round via triangle choke. Cerrone was in control of the fight throughout. It was a solid bounce-back effort after a loss to Rafael dos Anjos at Fight Night 27.
Cerrone has been in with the best that the division has to offer and proved with the Dunham effort that he can still be a major threat. He’s 8-3 in the UFC with his other losses inside the Octagon having come against current lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz. Cerrone’s fan-friendly style has produced a number of memorable contests and he’s captured several fight night bonuses in the UFC. He remains a fighter with plenty of options whether he decides to stay at 155 or eventually make the drop to featherweight. If he’s able to knock off Martins there would be the potential to get back to another high-profile matchup at lightweight.
As for Martins, he’s a veteran of 31 fights and made an impressive UFC debut at Fight Night 32 in Brazil. Martins picked up a Submission of the Night bonus when he finished Daron Cruickshank in the second round via kimura. Martins has 25 career victories and is currently riding a six-fight win streak. He packs a punch with 11-career knockouts and possesses an outstanding grappling game. A victory over Cerrone would certainly raise his stock within a talent-rich division.
The January 25 event is headlined by what shapes up as an outstanding lightweight matchup between former champion Benson Henderson and top-5 contender Josh Thomson.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports