With latest win, Cerrone finally secures title shot

Perennial UFC lightweight contender Donald Cerrone has developed a little tradition with coach Greg Jackson before each fight.

“It’s a wild and crazy, emotional roller coaster every time,” Cerrone said of preparing to fight. “It’s something I just tell my coaches before every fight, ‘This is my last one.’ Greg always says, ‘Well, damn it, if it’s your last one, let’s make it your best one.’ I say, ‘All right,’ then we’re done and I’m like, ‘OK, let’s get another one.’ ”

The ploy appears to be working.

Cerrone won his eighth straight fight Saturday night, a knockout of John Makdessi on the main card of UFC 187 at the MGM Grand.

The title shot he has seemingly been on the verge of since joining the UFC when it absorbed World Extreme Cagefighting at the end of 2010 finally appears to be secure.

UFC president Dana White said Cerrone is now officially next in line, though champion Rafael dos Anjos is sidelined with an injury (a torn medial collateral ligament suffered in March).

Cerrone, 32, has never been one to wait. He has competed 18 times since coming to the UFC.

This time, however, he appears willing to finally listen to his management and sit out until dos Anjos is ready to fight.

“I see a lot of Sunday fun days in my future,” he joked.

Cerrone even has a site in mind. He said he would like the fight to take place in his hometown of Denver. No event has been officially scheduled for Denver, but Cerrone seemed to indicate that would be announced soon.

While Cerrone joked he was getting the title shot “by default” since the UFC had just run out of other contenders to give opportunities to over him, there is no question he has earned his spot.

The latest win over Makdessi came after Cerrone broke his jaw with a kick.

“That was just a lucky shot, I guess,” Cerrone joked. After taking the shot, Makdessi backed away and attempted to call a timeout.

The referee immediately stepped in to stop the bout.

“I had no idea what was happening. I thought maybe I fouled him or something,” Cerrone said. “Then I saw he was hurt. I was like, ‘OK.’ ”

Makdessi issued a statement on his Facebook page Monday.

“This fight I took a lot of damage,” he said. “Never in my life took so much damage. Have to sit down with myself do a lot of thinking a lot of healing and see what I’m going to do next.”

■ SILVA SPEAKS OUT — Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is still awaiting a disciplinary hearing after a failed drug test, but that didn’t stop him from declaring his innocence Monday.

Silva, who tested positive for multiple steroids before and after he defeated Nick Diaz on Jan. 31, issued a statement through his Instagram account.

“About my doping case, I’m waiting for the commission and my lawyers,” he said, according to a translation. “I’m not a cheater and I never had a juiced body. I apologize to my followers and fans that give me strength and criticize me with the intention to help me instead of bringing me down, because I don’t want you to think that I’m being rude with you. I’m just tired of listening to lies and false accusations. I don’t live in a glass case, I’m not a saint and I never said I was the best. I always did what I love with truth, without overshadowing and lying to anyone.”

Silva, who is suspended, is expected to go before the Nevada Athletic Commission at its June meeting.

■ PENN TO UFC HALL — One of the UFC’s first superstars will join some of his contemporaries in the UFC Hall of Fame this year, the organization announced Saturday night.

BJ Penn, one of just two fighters to hold a UFC belt in two weight classes, will be enshrined in July.

He officially retired after a loss to Frankie Edgar in July 2014. It was Penn’s first fight in more than 18 months.

Penn had won the welterweight title in 2004, only to vacate the belt after a contract dispute when he left the organization. He returned in 2008 and captured the lightweight belt.

He will be inducted at the UFC Fan Expo on July 11, along with Bas Rutten and Jeff Blatnick. The second bout between Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg will be enshrined in the hall’s “fight wing.”

■ CONDIT RETURNS — Former UFC welterweight title challenger Carlos Condit will return to action Saturday against Thiago Alves in Goiania, Brazil, in the main event of UFC Fight Night 67.

Condit tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a fight against Tyron Woodley in March 2014. Alves has won back-to-back fights after missing more than two years with a series of injuries.

A featherweight bout between Nik Lentz and Charles Oliveira is also scheduled.

The event will air at 5 p.m. on Fox Sports 1 (Cable 329) with the preliminary card followed by the main card on the same channel at 7.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

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