Donald Cerrone’s (35-11) quest to win championship gold started with a crushing TKO victory at UFC’s debut show on ESPN Saturday night in Brooklyn, New York. And apparently, it was strong enough to catch the attention of former double champion, Conor McGregor.
No. 11-ranked Alexander Hernandez promised to “break” Cerrone in their tilt Saturday night, but it was “Cowboy” who wore down his young opponent in his return to the lightweight division. Hernandez opened the fight aggressively attacking Cerrone with punches to the head and knees to the mid-section. But as he’s done over the course of his MMA career, Cerrone wore down his opponent, snapping shots to the head with precision and busting open Hernandez.
In the second round, Cerrone hurt Hernandez multiple times, with a head kick sending him to the ground before he finished the fight with a barrage of shots.
Cerrone has spent much of the last three years in the welterweight division after challenging Rafael Dos Anjos for the lightweight crown in December 2015. After the fight, Cerrone called out Conor McGregor in hopes of rising quickly back up the ranks.
“The old man has still got it,” Cerrone said after the win, per ESPN. “This is the fight that the UFC wanted. I wanted [a] top-5 [opponent]. I want Conor [McGregor] if he’ll agree to it. I’m coming for a belt. Cowboy is back.”
McGregor, in turn, responded.
Whether this actually sets up a future tilt or not fully depends on UFC President Dana White, and the two fighter’s genuine want to make the bout happen. If it does, it sets up a heck of a brawl between two heavy-handed UFC veterans.