Yes, Cerrone needed just over two minutes last night to lock up his 29th win. After taking Oliveira down with a nicely timed shot, Cerrone masterfully worked his way into a ridiculously tight, triangle-choke. It was another impressive, highlight reel victory for “Cowboy”.
Most people believed that Cerrone would be too much for Oliveira, and that proved to be the case. But, leading up to the bout, some, including this guy right here, wondered if Cerrone might feel some additional pressure. For one, Cerrone was fighting for the first time since he was quickly taken out by lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in December.
But in addition, unlike Tim Means, Cerrone ended up facing a man who’s been competing at 155. A loss to a surging welterweight like Means, would have been written off as ‘okay, maybe this 170 thing wasn’t such a good idea”. But losing to Oliveira, even though the bout was at 170, might raise questions about Cerrone’s status as a lightweight title contender.
Well, after last night’s card, here’s what Cerrone had to say about the pressure narrative that I and others were pondering (quote via MMA Junkie.com):
“It wasn’t me, it was you [expletive] putting the pressure on,” Cerrone said. “Nah, there was no pressure. This was the first time I really felt alive back there. I had (Derek) Brunson dancing to country music back there with me, so it was good.
“I was telling all my buddies, I’ve got nothing to worry about. I’m not on a win streak, I’m at a weight class I’m not even in. This was totally for fun, and this whole week, the whole buildup, there was nowhere else I’d rather be than tonight.”
So there you have it. Now, if Cerrone had lost, then everyone and their dog would have been going on about how “Cowboy” must have cracked under pressure…
All this aside, it’s going to be really interesting to see what comes next for Cerrone. You have to wonder whether Cerrone will be asking for a top contender at 155 next, if McGregor takes the lightweight belt from RDA. If that doesn’t happen, maybe another fight at 170 could be around the corner?