Cerrone Steps Up on Short Notice to Face Henderson: Pros and Cons
On Monday evening, it was announced via twitter that Eddie Alvarez was forced to withdraw from his upcoming fight against former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson. Many fight fans were stunned to learn that stepping in for Alvarez is none other than Donald Cerrone. Donald Cerrone, you say. Did he not just fight a few days ago at UFC 182? Yes he did, and he’ll be back in action in less than two weeks on a UFC Fight Night card headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Dennis Siver.
Facing a former lightweight champion on less than two weeks’ notice may sound crazy to many, and smart to a few, but let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this situation from where Cerrone stands.
It is worth noting that Cerrone has already lost to Henderson twice, although both times were over five years ago during their WEC days. The first fight Cerrone lost by decision, the second by guillotine. Due to this, some could view it as a lose/lose situation. Even if Cerrone were to beat Henderson, he is still 1-2 against Henderson.
Additionally, since losing to Rafael dos Anjos, the next lightweight title challenger, Cerrone has gone 6-0. Taking a fight against someone to whom he has already lost two fights puts his streak in danger. Most notably, Cerrone is taking this fight just over two weeks since a decision win over Jury. Despite the fact he took very little damage in the fight, he’s still taking a fight against a top contender on very short notice. This means another weight cut in a short amount of time, and very little time for his body to heal up and be prepped for a fight.
This is a win/win scenario for Cerrone. If he loses, then he loses to someone who has already beat him twice, and people will say it’s because he took the fight on two weeks’ notice after just fighting. There’s no one who would blame him for a loss. Even if he loses, he’s in no danger of criticism from the UFC brass who are undoubtedly very pleased with the fact he was willing to fight again so quickly. In addition to the fact he’ll get another paycheck much sooner than he was anticipating, his willingness to jump back in so soon will likely translate into a nice locker room bonus as the UFC’s way of saying thanks for stepping up.
Cerrone has never been one to fight cautiously, but in this fight he can absolutely throw caution to the win – again, he has nothing to lose. Cerrone complained that his fight with Jury wasn’t more exciting, and he has the opportunity to take all of his frustrations out on Henderson.
Also, think about how much Cerrone’s stock will go up if he does win. Then not only has he avenged two losses, but he puts himself back into title contention.
Cerrone will be looking to put Henderson away quickly, because a second weight cut so soon will likely have effects on him as the fight goes on. Henderson will want to neutralize any momentum Cerrone could build by smothering him early, but Cerrone’s quickness on the feet and solid ground game could make it a rough night for Henderson. I think the odds-makers will have this swinging in Henderson’s favor, but that makes Cerrone a great underdog bet. Regardless of the outcome, I’m excited to see the fight.