February 18, 2018

Donald Cerrone vs. Yancy Medeiros: Another Opportunity For the Prospect To Supplant the Veteran

By Raphael Garcia

Mixed martial arts is a violent sport, and the sudden drop that occurs in a fighter’s career can be sudden and shocking to watch. Tonight, Donald Cerrone is stepping into the Octagon for his 42nd career fight and his 27th appearance in the UFC. He’s facing a dangerous opponent, Yancy Medeiros, in what is a clear opportunity to right the ship of his career when it’s at its worst. But will he?

Before 2017, Cerrone had never lost more than two fights in a row. In fact, he often quickly rebounded from a loss by going on a run of victories in order to regain his status in whatever division he competed in. Unfortunately for Cerrone, that was not the case last year when he dropped three fights in a row. The stunning aspect of that fact is that he lost two of those fights via vicious TKO. It’s such an odd occurrence to see Cerrone in such bad straits that many are wondering whether “Cowboy” can still ride at a high level.

In professional wrestling circles there’s a term called the “bump counter,” and the idea is that all wrestlers have a limited number of bumps they can take in their careers. Something similar could be said about mixed martial arts when it comes to damage. When a fighter’s body begins to fail, it all comes in rapid succession. Cerrone hasn’t looked good in any of his last few fights, and questions are starting to pour in as to whether he has much left to offer the sport at a high level.

That is what makes taking a fight against Yancy Medeiros so dangerous. The 30-year-old Hawaiian is coming into this fight riding a three-fight win streak. He stopped Erick Silva, Sean Spencer, and the “other Cowboy,” Alex Oliveira during this run, helping push his ranking into the UFC's Top 15. A victory over a highly-ranked welterweight like Cerrone would help him gain momentum at the perfect time. The UFC has met with government officials from Hawaii to begin planning an event in that state, and a spot on that card would be fantastic for Medeiros as he surges at 170 pounds.

Fights like this need to occur more often within the UFC. Take the Lyoto Machida vs. Eryk Anders matchup from earlier this month. The question was whether the younger fighter would be able to supplant the veteran in a division that needs new contenders at the top. The same is true with this fight. Medeiros can immediately insert himself into the title conversation and get on the list of potential contenders for Tyron Woodley in the future. But in order to do so, he needs to find a way to get past one of the best all-around fighters of this generation of mixed martial arts.

The UFC Fight Night 126 main event is another opportunity for a young athlete to force a veteran out of his “spot” on the UFC roster. In some cases, we’ve seen success for the young competitor; in others, we’ve seen failure. Donald Cerrone hasn’t looked quite like himself in his last few bouts, but he’s still a dangerous competitor that shouldn’t be taken lightly by Yancy Medeiros, in any fashion.

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