The knock on Donald Cerrone used to be his wrestling skills, or lack thereof.
Not anymore. Fresh off the finest performance of his career, which saw him take down former collegiate wrestler Jamie Varner on several occasions, Cerrone has definitely served notice to future opponents that he can not only threaten with high-level kickboxing and jiu-jitsu, but also has the tools to put foes on their back. It is a new weapon that Canadian Chris Horodecki will have to cope with when he faces Cerrone on Dec. 16 in Glendale, Ariz.
“I’ve been drilling a lot of wrestling,” said Cerrone, 12-3, with 1 no contest. “It’s something I didn’t work on much before. I always hated wrestling, but now everyday I’ve been drilling it so that I can make my weakness my strength.”
Despite the leaps-and-bounds growth of Cerrone’s wrestling game, Horodecki’s impressions of the Coloradan’s game pay homage to the old Cerrone.
“He’s a Muay Thai striker with a good ground game,” said Horodecki (16-2), who will be seeking his third straight win inside of the Octagon.
If fans get lucky, this fight will play out exclusively as a standup war. Cerrone is a super-aggressive kickboxer who has worked closely with Duane Ludwig. Horodecki has been training under Shawn Thompkins since he was 13 years old and has seven wins via knockout. The 23-year-old Horodecki, who had previously studied to be a paramedic, is trying to regain the luster from several years ago, when he was widely regarded as Canada’s greatest MMA prospect who was not named Georges St-Pierre. Not known for his ground game, Horodecki has just two submission victories, but anyone trying to gauge his toughness needs to look no further than his two wins over lightweight standout Bart Palaszewski.
“I’m real excited,” Cerrone said. “He’s a standup guy and I think my standup is better than his so I’m excited to go in there and showcase that.”
Unlike the vitriol he harbors toward Varner, his arch nemesis, Cerrone struck a much different tone toward Horodecki.
“He’s a very tough opponent,” Cerrone said. “He knows how to win big fights. I really respect Chris as an opponent. He comes from a great camp.”
With this being his last WEC fight, Cerrone was jazzed about the chance to make a name for himself in the UFC. He realizes that many pro athletes and sports teams have letdowns following great performances and believes he has done everything he can to prevent a letdown against Horodecki.
“Absolutely, you need to be concerned about that,” he said. “Anything can happen in any given moment, that’s the great thing about this sport. All it takes is one punch to change the outcome of a fight. I think my wrestling and jiu-jitsu is way superior to Horodecki, so I really I think his only chance is in the striking aspect. So bring that (expletive) on, Chris.”
Cerrone Cool Before Horodecki Clash
"All it takes is one punch to change the outcome of a fight. I think my wrestling and jiu-jitsu is way superior to Horodecki, so I really I think his only chance is in the striking aspect."