Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is entering his UFC on Fox 10 match-up with a lot to gain and a lot to lose as well. One thing Cerrone shouldn’t lose, however, is 10 pounds.

Prior to facing Evan Dunham at UFC 167, Cerrone had made it pretty clear that he was going to drop to featherweight. This seemed like an odd move given the fact Cerrone has had a pretty successful run in the UFC’s 155-pound division. He may have losses to the top two guys in the division, but “Cowboy” was hardly an afterthought. In fact, he’s probably one of the more popular and well-known competitors in the division.

Unfortunately for Cerrone, despite his numerous fight-night bonuses and success in the cage, he hasn’t found much success outside it.

“What really happened is I spent all my money and now I’m broke,” Cerrone said in an interview with Yahoo! Sports. “Now I only got one choice, and that’s to fight.”

Cerrone insists it wouldn’t take much more than a diet change to make the 145-pound limit, but one look at the man would suggest he doesn’t have much weight left to lose. He’ll be the first to tell you he doesn’t eat as clean as some other guys in the sport, but he hasn’t had to. During the Road to the Octagon special, Cerrone said that he changed his lifestyle to reduce the daredevil activities and cut back on the junk food. The results weren’t positive.

Thus, Cerrone went back to being who he is, and we’ve seen the result inside the cage. For a guy that’s lived his life on the edge of his seat, it’s tough to tone back to a more relaxed way of life. It’s simply not who he is, and if that’s what Cerrone would have to do to drop down a weight class, I’d rather see him finish his career at lightweight.

One guy who is already rolling out the welcome mat for Cerrone’s featherweight debut is Cole Miller.

“I’m gonna send Mike Dolce over to you and you can put the bill on me,” Miller said following his victory over Sam Sicilia. “He’s probably gonna tell you the same thing I’m gonna tell you: lay off them cheeseburgers and Twinkies homie.”

Cerrone is not known as someone who’d back down from a challenge, and Miller is the perfect kind of antagonist to persuade Cerrone to forego his plans to compete in the lightweight division. Yet, it would be in Cerrone’s best interest to stay at lightweight.

For one, he doesn’t need to make a division change. True, most people don’t envision Cerrone making a run for the belt so long as Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis are near the top, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be involved in exciting fights. And as Cerrone is fond of mentioning before fights, he loves getting “Fight of the Night” bonuses. To do that, he’ll need as much stamina as he can. Dropping a weight class won’t help him there.

Cutting back on items that have become a staple in his diet—even if they are bad for him—isn’t going to make Cerrone a better fighter. Nobody has labeled Cerrone as having cardio issues or as being someone who fades in tough fights. That could change, though, if he were forced to lower his body fat and weight to an unhealthy level.

There are also plenty of exciting fights for Cerrone to partake in at lightweight. Guys like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Michael Johnson, Nate Diaz, Edson Barboza and Jim Miller, among others, would all be great match-ups for Cerrone (and fans) if he can find his hand raised this Saturday night. Lightweight is full of guys who aren’t in the title hunt, but who are still decent fighters in their own right.

Speaking of potential match-ups, Cerrone needs money and is looking to get six fights in 2014. That’s an insane amount of fights for someone on the regional level, let alone a top-10 lightweight. If Cerrone is serious about fighting—and getting paid—that much in 2014, dropping a weight class isn’t the best idea.

Despite Cerrone’s claims, it’s hard to believe it’s as simple as cutting a pizza day out of the week. If he were to take a fight at featherweight, he’d undoubtedly be on the sidelines for some amount of time given that his fights generally involve a lot of blood and cuts. Even though most guys don’t follow protocol when it comes to medical suspensions, any amount of time on the sidelines is going to be detrimental to Cerrone.

In his interviews, Cerrone mentions the fact that he was burned out on fighting and didn’t have that “fire” any longer. It seems as though going broke and needing money is his main motivation. That’s a perfectly acceptable motivation, but it’s also one we’ve seen a number of veterans use in the past. Nobody wants to be in the position of having to do something because they need to do it. In a sport where mental health and brain damage are a major concern, it would be better to see Cerone enjoy his last few years of fighting rather than sacrificing the lifestyle he’s accustomed to just to drop a few pounds.

Cerrone needs to keep the cowboy hat, ride a bull, go wakeboarding and eat a jar of candy or a double cheese pizza—whatever it takes for him to put on exciting performances and “keep his smile,” as pro wrestler Shawn Michaels would say.

A happy fighter is a good fighter. For Cerrone, that means living life in the fast lane, not the diet lane.

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.