If Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone wasn't already considered a contender for the welterweight title before Saturday night, he certainly sent a message to everyone at 170-pounds with his performance against Matt Brown.
Cerrone was originally slated to fight at UFC 205 a few weeks ago but his opponent Kelvin Gastelum failed to make weight and the bout was cancelled. Brown quickly called UFC president Dana White and asked for the chance to face Cerrone and his wish was granted for the card in Toronto on Saturday night.
With a three-fight winning streak under his belt at welterweight, Cerrone looked better than ever as he took the center of the Octagon against a noted knockout artist like Brown while quickly establishing his kicking game early.
Cerrone tagged Brown to the legs and body, which forced the Ohio native to pull his arms down low to keep his opponent from damaging his ribs any further.
That opened up Brown for the head kick, which Cerrone threw early and often but couldn't quite connect with full force throughout the first couple of rounds.
Meanwhile, Brown continued to press forward and he cracked Cerrone with a vicious punch in the second round that dropped the former UFC title contender to the mat. Brown tried to follow up but instead saw Cerrone fire back with a counter shot of his own that put the momentum back in his favor.
As the third round got underway, Cerrone wasted no time feinting with a left-right combination on the feet, which forced Brown to duck his head and that precipitated the end of the fight.
Just as Brown ducked down, Cerrone launched a vicious kick that absolutely blasted his opponent in the head with a sickening thud. Brown crashed to the canvas as the referee quickly called a stop to the fight at :34 seconds into the third round.
“It just came natural,” Cerrone said about the head-kick knockout. “I love this (expletive).”
It was a very impressive showing for Cerrone, who has looked better than ever lately while fighting at 170-pounds. While Cerrone has teased a return to lightweight one day, he might be knocking on the door of a welterweight title shot with a couple of more wins.
Cerrone is wasting no time to fight again because he already asked UFC president Dana White for a spot on the upcoming FOX UFC Fight Night card in his hometown of Denver in January.
The loss dropped Brown to 0-3 in his past three fights inside the Octagon.