by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Now more than ever, the lightweight division is critical to the success of the WEC.

With the recent decision to eliminate the light-heavyweight and middleweight divisions, more emphasis falls on the 155-pound fighters to deliver the kind of entertainment that will bring in the crowds and ratings.

One of the fighters looked upon to help usher in this new era for the promotion is Team Jackson fighter Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

Having looked impressive in his two previous bouts for the company, Cerrone gets a big opportunity to step towards title contention as he takes on former champion “Razor” Rob McCullough in one of the most anticipated fights at this coming Wednesday’s WEC 36 event in Hollywood, Fla.

“Leonard (Garcia) and I are both pumped,” said Cerrone of finally getting a chance to fight after the event was delayed for a month due to the threat of Hurricane Ike.

“You’re expecting to fight, getting all ready, then they can reschedule it and you’ve got to get ready all over again – so we’re ready to go.”

As for how the delay may have helped or hindered Cerrone, he stated, “I wouldn’t say we got extra work in. Our game plan is the same, and I’m as ready to go now as I was then. So it didn’t do anything but just have me sharpen up.”

Ever since winning his last fight in June, Donald has been firmly affixed on facing “Razor” Rob, in efforts to work his way toward current WEC titleholder Jamie Varner.

“I think it’s a good match-up,” stated Cowboy. “We’re both good strikers and are willing to stand – so I’d like it there – but if it goes to the ground, I’m comfortable there too.”

Cerrone hopes this fight will help put him on the map as a legitimate contender, and intends to do everything to make that happen.

“Absolutely, yes, definitely 100 percent I feel I’d like to make a statement,” he exclaimed. “Let all the people out there know that I belong.”

Having spent the first part of the year on suspension, and the delay of WEC 36, Cerrone is eager to return to fighting as soon as possible, title shot or not.

“If I get the title shot after this – great – if I don’t, and I have to fight more people – cool – it doesn’t matter,” he stated. “I would like to fight one more time this year, but I’ll take this and be all right.

“I hope they bring in the toughest of the tough; otherwise there’s no reason to be here. I’m looking forward to it, bring me anyone.”

Eyeing a possible match up with Rich Crunkilton in the future, as well as more opportunities to showcase his skills due to the WEC’s realignment, things are looking bright for Cerrone, should he get past Rob McCullough on Nov. 5.

“I’d like to thank Tapout and Nutritox for all their support,” he closed out. “I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the show on Nov. 5.

“I’m going to tell him at the weigh-ins that this is going to be fight of the night, so no holding back and let’s get some – I’m excited for that.”