Cerrone was born in Columbus, Ohio, but grew up in Denver, Colorado. He was born with a cleft lip, which was repaired when he was a child. At a young age, Cerrone was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder but never received treatment for it. Growing up, he would often get into fights.
Cerrone attended Air Academy High School, where he began professional bull riding. Following his parents’ divorce, Cerrone lived with his grandparents. At the age of 20, Cerrone began training in kickboxing and then later Muay Thai. After winning a few kickboxing competitions, Cerrone pursued a career in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Mixed martial arts career
Cerrone began his career in Commerce City, Colorado at a gym called Freedom Fighters. Cerrone began training with Jon Jones, Rashad Evans, Nathan Marquardt, Keith Jardine, Georges St-Pierre, Leonard Garcia, Tom Watson and other skilled MMA fighters at Greg Jackson‘s Submission Fighting Gaidojutsu school in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
World Extreme Cagefighting
Cerrone was signed to fight in the WEC. His first fight in the promotion was against Kenneth Alexander. Originally a win via submission in 0:56 seconds of the first round, the decision was changed to a no contest when Cerrone tested positive hydrochlorothiazide, a banned diuretic.
On January 25, 2009, at WEC 38 he fought WEC Lightweight Champion, Jamie Varner, losing via technical split decision. The fight was highly competitive and won the Fight of the Night award. However, the fight was stopped prematurely in the fifth round when Cerrone hit Varner’s temple with an illegal knee while Varner was still on the ground. Varner was given time to recover, but he was unable to continue, noting that he had double vision and had sustained a broken hand.
Cerrone was again scheduled to face Rich Crunkilton on June 7, 2009, at WEC 41, but Crunkilton was forced off the card with an injury and replaced by James Krause. Cerrone defeated Krause via first round submission.
Cerrone and Varner had agreed to a rematch, tentatively at WEC 43, but Varner was unable to receive medical clearance as a result from his hand injury. Cerrone fought Benson Henderson for the WEC Interim Lightweight Championship on October 10, 2009, at WEC 43 in San Antonio, Texas, losing by unanimous decision. The fight was awarded Fight of the Year honors by Sherdog for 2009. Cerrone credited Henderson for being “a hell of a fighter” and conceded that he was slow to start the action, which may have cost him the match.
Cerrone faced Ed Ratcliff on December 19, 2009, in the event headliner at WEC 45. Cerrone defeated Ratcliff via third round submission. The bout also earned Cerrone Fight of the Night honors.
Cerrone fought Benson Henderson in a rematch of their 2009 Fight of the Year, this time for the WEC Lightweight Championship on April 24, 2010, at WEC 48. Cerrone lost via first-round guillotine choke submission.
Cerrone faced rival Jamie Varner in their highly anticipated rematch on September 30, 2010, at WEC 51. He won the fight via unanimous decision, winning all three rounds. In between rounds, there were often many shoves and obscenities exchanged by both fighters, including a shove at the very end of the match. In the post fight interview, Cerrone declared he’d be willing to do a rematch in Arizona, Varner’s home state, to settle their score once and for all. The bout won Fight of the Night honors.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Cerrone faced Paul Kelly on February 5, 2011, at UFC 126, replacing an injured Sam Stout. Cerrone defeated Kelly via tapout due to a rear naked choke. For their performance, both fighters earned Fight of the Night honors.
Cerrone was expected to face Mac Danzig on June 11, 2011 at UFC 131. However, Danzig was forced out of the bout with a chest injury and replaced by promotional newcomer Vagner Rocha. Cerrone won the fight via unanimous decision.
Cerrone was expected to face Paul Taylor on August 14, 2011, at UFC on Versus 5, replacing an injured John Makdessi. However, Taylor was forced out of the bout with a foot injury and replaced by Charles Oliveira. Cerrone won the fight via TKO three minutes into the opening round, earning Knockout of Night honors for the performance.
Cerrone next faced Nate Diaz at UFC 141 on December 30, 2011. He lost the back-and-forth fight via unanimous decision, in a performance that earned both participants Fight of the Night honors. Despite knocking Diaz off of his feet multiple times with leg kicks, Cerrone could not offset the volume punches from Diaz, as Diaz landed 82% of the strikes he threw en route to his victory over Cerrone. On his loss to Diaz Cerrone stated, “You know instinct, I think that’s the thing a lot of people aren’t doing. That’s where I made the mistake in my last fight, is, you need to learn to turn your brain off and just go by reactions. Don’t go in there and try and think and do things and fight with your brain, because that’s the thing, I got angry and tried to kill him, and when you try to go [too] hard you just can’t do it.”
Cerrone was expected to face Yves Edwards on May 15, 2012, at UFC on Fuel TV: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier. However, Edwards was forced from the bout with an injury and replaced by Jeremy Stephens. Cerrone defeated Stephens by unanimous decision.
Cerrone fought Melvin Guillard on August 11, 2012 at UFC 150. He won the fight via knockout in the first round. The performance earned Cerrone Knockout of the Night and Fight of the Night honors.
Cerrone faced Anthony Pettis on January 26, 2013, at UFC on Fox 6. Pettis won the fight by TKO in the first round, finishing Cerrone with a kick to the body. This marked the first time in his career that Cerrone lost via strikes.
Cerrone faced Evan Dunham on November 16, 2013, at UFC 167. Cerrone won the fight via triangle choke in the second round. The win also earned him his second Submission of the Night bonus award.
Cerrone faced Adriano Martins on January 25, 2014, at UFC on Fox 10. He won the fight by knockout due to a headkick in the first round. The win also earned Cerrone his third Knockout of the Night bonus award.
Cerrone faced Edson Barboza on April 19, 2014, at UFC on Fox 11. Cerrone dropped his opponent with a strong jab in the first and quickly secured the rear-naked choke submission for the win. The win also earned Cerrone his first Performance of the Night bonus award.
Cerrone faced Jim Miller on July 16, 2014, at UFC Fight Night 45. Cerrone defeated Miller via knockout in the second round due to a head kick and punches, becoming the first man to give Miller a professional knockout loss. The win also earned Cerrone his second Performance of the Night bonus award.
Cerrone was briefly linked to a bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov on September 27, 2014, at UFC 178. However, the pairing was quickly scrapped after it was revealed that Nurmagomedov had suffered a knee injury that would sideline him indefinitely. Subsequently, Cerrone was matched with Bobby Green at the event. In turn, Cerrone eventually faced Eddie Alvarez in the co-main event of the card. Cerrone won the fight via unanimous decision.
Cerrone faced Myles Jury on January 3, 2015, at UFC 182. Cerrone commented on his desire to fight him was due to his disdain over Jury’s arrogant response after defeating Cerrone’s former training partner, Diego Sanchez, in UFC 171. He won the fight by unanimous decision.
In an unprecedented move, Cerrone requested to face friend and WEC rival Benson Henderson just 15 days later at UFC Fight Night 59, replacing an injured Eddie Alvarez. Cerrone won the fight via a unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the fight 29-28. 12 of 14 media outlets scored the bout in favor of Henderson.
Cerrone was expected to face Khabib Nurmagomedov on May 23, 2015 at UFC 187. However, Nurmagomedov pulled out of the bout on April 30 due to a knee injury. He was replaced by John Makdessi. Cerrone won the fight via TKO in the second round.
After winning eight fights in a row in under two years, Cerrone earned his first UFC lightweight title shot. He faced Rafael dos Anjos in the main event at UFC on Fox 17 on December 19, 2015. Cerrone lost the fight via TKO just 66 seconds into the first round.
Moving up to welterweight
Cerrone was expected to face Tim Means in a welterweight bout on February 21, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 83. However, Means was removed from the bout on February 3 and was replaced by Alex Oliveira. Cerrone won the fight via submission in the first round. He was also awarded a Performance of the Night bonus.
On August 26, 2016, it was announced that Cerrone had signed a new, eight-fight contract with UFC.
Cerrone was briefly linked to a bout with Robbie Lawler on November 12, 2016, at UFC 205. However, Lawler turned down the fight and Cerrone was then scheduled to face Kelvin Gastelum on the card. However on the day of the weigh-ins, Gastelum did not make an attempt to formally weigh in as he was well over the 171 lbs limit for the fight and the bout was scrapped. Consequently, Cerrone was quickly rescheduled and faced Matt Brown the following month at UFC 206. Cerrone won the fight via knockout in the third round.
Cerrone was expected to face Robbie Lawler on July 8, 2017 at UFC 213. On June 28, reports began to circulate that Cerrone had sustained a minor injury which would force the fight to be postponed to UFC 214 taking place three weeks later. UFC President Dana White confirmed later the same day that Cerrone in fact had a staph infection and a pulled groin, and the plan is to reschedule the pairing to after UFC 214. However, the bout eventually took place at UFC 214. Cerrone lost the back-and-forth fight by unanimous decision.
Cerrone faced Yancy Medeiros on February 18, 2018 at UFC Fight Night 126. He won the fight via technical knockout out in round one. With this win, Cerrone tied the UFC records for most finishes in the promotion with fourteen (14) and most wins in the promotion with twenty (20).
In the beginning of August 2018, it was revealed that he had parted ways with his long-time striking coach Brandon Gibson after the loss against Edwards. Appearing on Joe Rogan Experience on August 29, 2018, Cerrone launched on a tirade against his training camp Jackson-Wink and announced that he had parted ways with the team altogether.
Cerrone faced Mike Perry on November 10, 2018 at UFC Fight Night 139. He won the fight by submission due to an armbar in the first round, becoming the first fighter to finish Perry in MMA. His fight earned him the Performance of the Night award. With this win, Cerrone set the UFC records for most finishes in the promotion with fifteen (15) and most wins in the promotion with twenty one (21).
Return to lightweight
Cerrone faced Alexander Hernandez in a lightweight bout on January 19, 2019 at UFC Fight Night 143. He was successful in his return to Lightweight, winning the fight via TKO in the second round, after outstriking and outwrestling Hernandez throughout the fight. With this win, Cerrone extended his UFC records for most finishes with sixteen (and most wins with twenty-two. He also added another record to his legacy, becoming the fighter with the most fight bonuses at sixteen.
Article source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Cerrone