UFC president Dana White this week confirmed that an exciting lightweight battle between fan favorites Justin Gaethje and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone would headline the upcoming UFC on ESPN+ 16 fight card on Sept. 14 in Vancouver.
The bout was first reported by MMAWeekly.com content partner Yahoo Sports following Cerrone teasing the fight in an Instagram post.
“Just got off the phone with my ole Buddy. And at 155 it’s kinda are only option. He told me Cowboy let’s go make this money. And if I can Promise y’all something this is a fight y’all Do Not Want to miss. O and of course it’s on short notice,” Cerrone wrote, hinting at the fight with Gaethje.
White later confirmed the bout was expected to headline UFC Vancouver to Yahoo’s Kevin Iole, saying, “Get ready, Vancouver! This fight is going to be ridiculous!”
Gaethje is 3-2 since moving into the Octagon in 2017, but his record doesn’t do justice to his performances in the cage. Even fans who didn’t know Gaethje from his run as the World Series of Fighting lightweight champion quickly flocked to his kill-or-be-killed style, which has meant a knockout in every one of his UFC bouts… win or lose.
The 36-year-old Cerrone has spent nearly his entire career fighting for the UFC or WEC en route to becoming the winningest fighter in UFC history with 23 victories in the Octagon.
Cerrone recently lost to Tony Ferguson at UFC 238 in June, losing his opportunity for a shot at the UFC lightweight championship. So he needs the win over Gaethje in order to start working his way back into contention in a division that is bound for some massive shifts over the next couple of months.
Gaethje enters the fight on the heels of back-to-back victories over James Vick and Edson Barboza. A victory over the likes of Cerrone should cement him as one of the top contenders after the championship round robin of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dustin Poirier, and Tony Ferguson plays out.