The UFC have acted swiftly to ensure that the out-of-contract Donald Cerrone remains in the Octagon, signing him up to a new eight fight deal.
A number of other UFC stars like Ben Henderson and Rory MacDonald opted to test their worth on the open market and ended up signing for Bellator when their contracts ran out, but ‘Cowboy’ had stated before and after his latest fight at UFC 202 on Saturday night that he had no intention of following in their footsteps.
“I’m a UFC guy, man – I’m not going anywhere,” Cerrone said backstage after UFC 202. “I talked to (new UFC CEO) Ari (Emanuel) and they seem very happy with me, so I see big things with this company. I feel like I’m a veteran of this sport, man. I love it. I love fighting for the UFC, and this is my drug. I need it as much as I can – I feel like a crackhead up here already looking for another fight.”
UFC execs will no doubt be delighted with Cerrone’s loyalty, but even if he had dug his heels in and tried to play the UFC off against it’s rivals, it’s likely that they would have fought tooth and nail to retain his services as he’s a fan favorite, and is currently in red hot form.
Cerrone recently moved up to welterweight, and it’s proven to be a perfect fit for him so far as he’s looked outstanding in his three fights there so far, defeating Alex Oliveira, Patrick Cote and most recently Rick Story inside the distance by either submission or strikes.
‘Cowboy’ hasn’t completely abandoned ship on fighting at lightweight either, indicating that he harbors an ambition to fight Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title.
So there’s plenty of options out there for the 33 year-old, and as one of the UFC’s most active fighters there’s no doubt that he’ll now be champing at the bit to get back in the Octagon ASAP.