UFC celebrates their 25th Anniversary by returning to the Mile High City; the same city they hosted their very first show in 1993.
Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone may be one of the most exciting fighters in mixed martial arts, being tied for the second-most performance bonuses in the UFC. Cerrone is also tied for the most finishes and most wins in UFC history.
Heading into his 46th career bout and 26th for the UFC, we look back at five memorable fights from 'Cowboy' in the promotion.
UFC 126: Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly
World Extreme Cagefighting had their own set of notable lightweights following their purchase from Zuffa, including Benson Henderson, Anthony 'Showtime' Pettis and Jamie Varner. The first fighter to enter the Octagon following the WEC's lightweight division merger into the UFC was Cerrone, stepping in for Sam Stout against Paul Kelly at UFC 126.
The pressure was on for Cerrone to represent the new wave of lightweights.
The fight opened up with controversy as Cerrone attempted to touch gloves as Kelly immediately followed up with a punch. Undeterred, Cerrone changed levels and shot the takedown on Kelly.
In the second round, Cerrone opened up with his striking combinations. Knowing he had an advantage on the ground over Kelly, Cowboy would take the fight to the mat.
Cerrone would eventually mount Kelly, and Kelly would give up his back. Cowboy would finish Kelly with a rear-naked choke to earn his first win in the Octagon. Cerrone and Kelly would earn 'Fight of the Night' for the first of Cerrone's thirteen performance bonuses.
UFC 150: Donald Cerrone vs. Melvin Guillard
At the beginning of 2012, Melvin Guillard decided to leave Jackson's MMA in Albuquerque to follow TUF 2 castmate and teammate Rashad Evans to the newly-formed Blackzilians camp in Boca Raton, Florida.
In August that year, former training partners Cerrone and Guillard were scheduled to meet at UFC 150 in Denver; Cowboy's backyard.
Guillard would mention in interviews that Cerrone would often get the better of him in sparring sessions.
In the opening seconds of the fight, Guillard would drop Cerrone sending a shockwave through the crowd, as Cerrone would shell up to try and recover, while absorbing the onslaught from 'The Young Assassin.' Cerrone would eventually recover and catch Guillard with a head kick. Cowboy would follow up with a punch to knock out his former teammate.
UFC 178: Donald Cerrone vs. Eddie Alvarez
Cerrone was scheduled to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 178, however UFC president Dana White revealed that Nurmagomedov allegedly blew out his knee just twenty minutes after signing the fight agreement.
In August 2014 following a lengthy contract dispute and return to Bellator, former two-time Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez signed with the UFC. Alvarez was then slated in to replace Nurmagomedov to face Cerrone in his UFC debut.
In his highly-anticipated debut, fans wondered how Alvarez would fare against UFC competition.
Alvarez started off quickly on the slow-starting Cerrone, landing multiple unanswered strikes in the single-collar tie in the opening round. Cerrone would regain his composure and make it to the bell.
In the second round, Cerrone picked up his pace, beginning to open up with kicks and knees to Alvarez.
In the final round, Cerrone was dropped by an Alvarez punch, but battled back to turn the striking exchanges in his favor. Nearing the end of the fight, Cerrone would land multiple leg kicks to Alvarez, dropping the former Bellator champion. Cerrone would finish the fight on top and would ultimately win a unanimous decision.
UFC Fight Night Boston: Donald Cerrone vs. Benson Henderson 3
Just two weeks after being 'upset' with his performance at UFC 182 and possibly injuring his legs due to 'f- you' kicks to Myles Jury at the end of his fight, Cerrone stepped in to replace Alvarez against Benson Henderson at UFC Fight Night Boston. Henderson previously beat Cerrone twice in the WEC fighting for the lightweight title; the first time being a controversial decision.
Henderson opened up the bout with unorthodox striking, landing punches to Cerrone's thigh. Henderson would frustrate Cerrone with movement, taking shots at Cerrone's legs when he can. Cerrone would respond by countering Henderson's strikes with shots to the body and head. There seems to be a lack of kicks from Cerrone possibly due to injury from fighting just two weeks prior.
The second round was close as well, however Cerrone would seem to win the round with a takedown with 90 seconds left. Both fighters were even with the strikes.
The third round was much of the same with both fighters even in the striking and Cerrone connecting with a single takedown.
The decision was close and controversial as well, however the judges scored it in favor of Cerrone. This would be a big win for Cerrone as he would need to supplant Henderson from the higher ranking in order to earn his place for a possibly title shot. With two losses against a fighter, a third may possibly end the title aspirations for Cowboy.
UFC 206: Donald Cerrone vs. Matt Brown
After losses to Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis, Cerrone learned to not let his emotions dictate a fight. Most fighters viewed this a weakness in Cerrone's armour as the more emotionally involved Cowboy is in a fight, the more vulnerabilities he will show.
Not only did Matt Brown bring in Cerrone's former Muay Thai coach in Duane 'Bang' Ludwig to camp, but 'The Immortal' also brought the verbal warfare to try and get under the skin of Cerrone.
Brown told the UFC 206 media scrum, "I've talked to him before, but that doesn't make him a friend. So, I don't care for him, I don't care for his personality. Even when I talked to him I didn't want to talk to him, I was just being cordial. I don't have any good feelings towards him at all. I don't like the way he acts, I don't like the way he carries himself, and I don't like the way he represents the sport."
Brown would continue on his disdain for Cerrone, "Most of my opponents I'm really respectful to, and I think they're respectful to me, but I take... I don't know if he means it or not, I don't know maybe he's just a douche bag of a person, but I get that feeling when he's talking to other people, especially other fighters, he feels like he's above other people. And he's kind of bully, you know what I mean? You watch his fights where he lost where he got bullied back, and he didn't like that. That's what I got to do to him."
Brown would also blow off Cerrone's handshake at the UFC 206 media day.
In the opening round, Cerrone begins landing kicks to Brown. 'The Immortal' would receive a cut on his face in one of the exchanges. Cowboy ends up landing a couple head kicks in the round wobbling Brown, however Brown would recover.
In the second round, Cerrone would open up more shots on Brown. Ninety seconds into the round, Brown would drop Cerrone with a huge punch and try to finish. Cerrone would end up recovering and drop Brown with another head kick. Both fighters would make it to the end of the round after wild back-and-forth exchanges. Brown would walk back to his corner visibly slower.
In the third round, Cerrone and Brown would embrace in the middle of the cage. Just thirty seconds in, Cerrone would land a huge head kick knocking Brown out cold for the first time in his career.