Skip to main content
Donald Cerrone and son exit the Octagon during the UFC 276 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone Announces His Retirement

Donald Cerrone is hanging up his four-ounce gloves.

Saturday night at UFC 276, “Cowboy” made the walk to the Octagon to face off with fellow veteran Jim Miller, one of the two men with more career appearances than him, and the second member of the trio of fighters that also includes Andrei Arlovski who started the evening tied with the most career victories in UFC history.

Following the opening round, the veterans threw kicks at the same time early in the second, with Cerrone stumbling to the canvas and Miller quickly pouncing, attacking a guillotine choke that left Cerrone with no choice but to tap. As they stood in the Octagon awaiting the official decision, the 39-year-old gunslinger peeled the tape from his gloves, laying them down inside his trademark black cowboy hat before telling Joe Rogan that it was time to call it a day.

UFC 276 REWIND: Results | Scorecards | Bonus Coverage

He exits the UFC with a 23-14, 1 NC record inside the Octagon, a 36-17 mark overall, with a pair of no contest verdicts, and enshrinement in the UFC Hall of Fame at some point in the not too distant future is guaranteed.

All kinds of fighters talk about “anyone, anywhere, any time,” but Cerrone lived it.

Donald Cerrone Octagon Interview | UFC 276
Donald Cerrone Octagon Interview | UFC 276
/

He fought five times in his first year in the UFC, was quick to raise his hand whenever a vacancy needed to be filled, and bounced between lightweight and welterweight, taking a true “have fists, will travel” approach to competing. He faced just about everyone that was anyone in the lightweight division, and more than a few A-list welterweights, too, including former champions Anthony Pettis (twice), Conor McGregor, Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson, Robbie Lawler, Rafael Dos Anjos (twice), Benson Henderson, Eddie Alvarez, and Charles Oliveira.

While he never claimed championship gold, Cerrone was a perennial contender across two weight classes and one of the most consistently entertaining and beloved fighters of the last decade; a one-of-a-kind original who was his authentic self at all times. From his signature Kid Rock walkout track and his ever present cowboy hat to his playful smirk and an undeniable love of fighting, you knew when “Cowboy” was on the card, you were in for a good time, no matter the outcome.

MORE CERRONE: Every Cerrone Walkout | Every Cerrone Finish In UFC History 

That’s his legacy.

That’s who he was.

That’s who he always wanted to be.

Chasing titles never seemed like much of a priority to him, but getting into a fistfight and entertaining the masses? He’d turn up for that every day and twice on Sundays week-after-week if you’d let him.

What’s crazy about Cerrone’s place on the all-time wins and appearances list is that he spent three years competing in the WEC before migrating to the Octagon when the promotion and its little blue cage was absorbed by the UFC. Add those 10 fights to his overall tallies and he’s got a five-fight lead on Miller in terms of victories and an eight-fight lead in terms of appearances.

Donald Cerrone punches Jim Miller in a welterweight fight during the UFC 276 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Donald Cerrone punches Jim Miller in a welterweight fight during the UFC 276 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


Cerrone always said that he’d like to get to 50 appearances combined between the WEC and UFC, but rides off into the sunset two fights short, opting to explore new opportunities rather than stick around to chase a record when his heart was no longer in it.

Though his career comes to a close on a lengthy slide, what he should be remembered for are stretches like the eight-fight winning streak he put together between his tandem losses to Dos Anjos, a run that started with four straight finishes, included two wins in 15 days at the start of 2015, and wrapped with a dominant second-round stoppage win over John Makdessi that punched his ticket to his one and only UFC title fight.

He should be remembered for moving up to welterweight following that title bout and rattling off four straight stoppage wins, where he dusted off his offensive wrestling game and hit Rick Story with a multi-strike combo straight out of Tekken at UFC 202.

View Cerrone's Athlete Profile 

He should be remembered for his homecoming win over Mike Perry on the 25th anniversary show in Denver, Colorado, where he showed once more that despite a rough spell over his previous five appearances, reports of his demise were a little premature.

Personally, I will remember him for the myriad conversations we had over the years — including the one where I thought he was going to jump through the phone and strangle me, and the one ahead of his fight with Patrick Cote in Ottawa during that first welterweight run where his beloved grandmother scolded him for turning the middle finger in his personal way of greeting a familiar face.

I’ll remember getting that same middle finger, followed by a wink and a smirk when he showed up at the dais following that UFC 187 win over Makdessi with four cold bottles of Budweiser in his hands, and the discussions about how becoming a dad had shook up his world in so many ways, his love for his boys radiating through the phone.

I’ll remember the “F*** You!” kicks he landed on Vagner Rocha in Vancouver that he broke out again many years later for Myles Jury, the knockout of Melvin Guillard, and the submission finish over Edson Barboza.

Top Moments: Cowboy Cerrone
Top Moments: Cowboy Cerrone
/

I’ll remember the way he’d smirk and say, “I know a guy” whenever he was looking to secure a fight on short notice or get someone else to sign on the dotted line, the way his eye ballooned up after he blew his nose heading into the third round of his fight with Ferguson, and the way I automatically smiled every time I heard the opening strains of “Cowboy” echo through the arena.

Cerrone was a unique personality, a permanent fixture on the main card and in the Top 15, and a perpetually entertaining fighter who really and truly was willing to fight anyone, anywhere, at any time.

He was one of a kind and he’s going to be missed.

Happy Retirement, Cowboy.