UFC 134 Fight Card: Is Donald Cerrone Already in the UFC Lightweight Title Mix?

Dale De Souza@@DaleDeSouzaMMAAnalyst IAugust 16, 2011

In the MMA World, there are certain things we can't ignore, like the Strikeforce Nashville brawl, the passing of renowned trainer Shawn Tompkins this past Sunday, pretty much every disputed decision win in MMA history, and the perceived downfall of many PRIDE legends.

Ascents are also something that we as a community of the Combat Sports Universe cannot ignore anymore, and right now, "Cowboy" Donald Cerrone is one of the top examples of a Lightweight that we can no longer ignore.

Ever since his WEC 48 loss to Ben Henderson, Cerrone has posted a five fight win streak, including his TKO win over Charles Oliveira, and now the question has to be asked:

Is The Cowboy, Donald Cerrone, already in the mix of the UFC's 155-pound title picture?

I answered this question when I covered the UFC on Versus 5 event this Saturday, saying that if Cerrone wasn't ready now, he never would be.

However, consider UFC 134's two Lightweight bouts: Thiago Tavares vs. Spencer Fisher, and Ross Pearson vs. Edson Barboza.

Now, I'd like to think that the Tavares-Fisher winner would stylistically be more interesting for Oliveira's next bout, but for Cerrone, both men could pose enough of a threat to Cerrone in that he might find himself in a similar situation to what he encountered with Vagner Rocha at UFC 131.

Fisher probably is the more well rounded threat, but we won't know how much Tavares has improved his standup from the Shane Roller fight until we see him against Fisher next weekend.

The Pearson-Barboza winner might be more of a threat on the feet, but their ground games may come into question against Cerrone, who has some of the sweetest Jiu-Jitsu in the division.

Cerrone is in the mix for sure right now, but give him one of these four men--whoever is successful next Saturday--before giving him a Top 5-Top 3 fighter, if he's not ready for the big dogs yet.

With how far Cerrone's rising in stock, and with how far two of the aforementioned four Lightweights will rise in stock after UFC 134, maybe pinning Tavares, Fisher, Pearson, or Barboza against Cerrone might give us a better idea of who's really ready to lead the Lightweights into their next great era.

Look, Joe Silva, we know Cerrone said to keep him on speed dial for UFC 135, just in case Tony Ferguson vs. Aaron Riley fell through, or in case Takanori Gomi vs. Nate Diaz fell through, so keep a third eye out on the two Lightweight fights next weekend.

Maybe, just maybe, you might have to give Cerrone a buzz after all.