When he faces Al Iaquinta Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night 151, he'll have at his back an emphatic two-fight win streak, including a bloody beating of mouthy whippersnapper Alex Hernandez in January.
Per Mike Bohn and Abbey Subhan of MMA Junkie, Cowboy's 88.9 percent takedown defense rate is tops in the lightweight division.
Although there doesn't appear to be an official record on the topic, Cerrone waited until his 19th UFC contest before competing for a title, and when it happened, it was over in 66 seconds following a hellish barrage from Rafael Dos Anjos.
The mindset seemed to work to an extent, with various big wins over name opponents like Benson Henderson—who Cerrone defeated in Bendo's last UFC fight at lightweight—but everyone including Cowboy seemed content to let him float along as a bonus-hunting action fighter and one of the biggest fan favorites in the promotion.
He had 12 wins in 13 contests, the title loss to Dos Anjos serving as the only blemish.