In fact, since the fight at WEC 51 took place in Broomfield, Colo., just 90 miles north of Cerrone's hometown of Colorado Springs, he put aside the post-fight shoving and the between-round bird-flipping against his heated and hated rival and did the gentlemanly thing – he offered to rematch with Varner on his turf next time.
WEC 53 takes place Dec. 16 at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix – Varner's home. And after dominating in a unanimous decision sweep of the scorecards, Cerrone took to the microphone to offer up a chance to finish the trilogy, now tied 1-1, in Varner's backyard.
WEC general manager Reed Harris told MMA Fighting after the event that, as usual, he and matchmaker Sean Shelby would sit down to discuss potential upcoming matches, making no promises of a rematch in Phoenix. But he made no secret that he wouldn't stand in the way of another fight between the two lightweights, regardless of when it takes place.
"I'd have them fight every show, the way these guys fight," Harris said. "I'm telling you, that was an absolutely exciting, outstanding fight. And I'd love to see it again. But I'll sit down with Sean Shelby next week and we'll talk about it."
Cerrone and Varner first fought at WEC 38, with Varner winning a controversial split decision that was cut short when he couldn't continue following an illegal knee from Cerrone. Both that bout and the rematch Thursday night were Fight of the Night bonus winners.
The Cowboy came out with guns blazing from the opening bell and said at the post-fight press conference he had no real gameplan, other than to fight angry.
"It was run at him and when I got there, I was gonna figure it out," Cerrone said. "I was having a good time out there. There were definitely a couple times I could've finished him and I didn't. I was stepping back, admiring my work, I guess you could say."
Cerrone said his personal problems with Varner aren't going away, even though the two touched gloves at the start of the third round
"As a fighter, I've got nothing to take away from the guy. So I was giving credit where credit is due," Cerrone said. "But then at the end of the fight, he came at me to try and hug me or something, and I was like, 'Get away from me.' I don't know what exactly went down – words were exchanged. I still don't like the guy. Just because it's a good fight, the beef isn't squashed. I still have ill feelings toward him. As a person, I think he's got no backbone."
If a Cerrone-Varner trilogy match were to take place at WEC 53, it would likely find itself in the middle of the main card, which already features two title bouts – a lightweight title fight between champion Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis, and a bantamweight title scrap between champ Dominick Cruz and Scott Jorgensen.