Donald Cerrone asked for a quick turnaround. And, well... he couldn't ask for any quicker than this. Fresh off a win over Myles Jury at UFC 182, Cerrone has agreed to step in and fight Benson Henderson on less than two weeks notice at UFC Fight Night 59, promotion president Dana White announced Monday.
Henderson's original opponent, Eddie Alvarez, withdrew from the fight because he has the flu, according to sources at Authentic Sports Management, his management team. Alvarez's sickness resulted in weight loss and stopped him from training. He apparently tried to fight through it, but he felt worse on Monday and was forced to pull out of the bout.
The switch ensures that Cerrone (26-6, 1 NC) will compete on back-to-back UFC events to kick off his 2015 campaign.
Cerrone and Henderson (21-4) have fought twice before, with both fights being for the WEC lightweight championship. They first met in a 2009 contest that saw Henderson win the WEC's interim strap with a memorable back-and-forth unanimous decision that drew several accolades for 'Fight of the Year'. Their rematch, one year later, ended much more abruptly, as Henderson defended his title with a first-round guillotine over Cerrone.
Since then the two have become staples of the UFC's lightweight ranks, combining to compile a 22-5 record following the dissolution of the WEC.
Cerrone, 31, inched his way into No. 3 on the UFC's media-generated 155-pound rankings this past Saturday with his lopsided unanimous decision win over Jury. "Cowboy" was unimpressed by his own performance in the bout, but it nonetheless extended his remarkable six-fight win streak, which also includes victories over Alvarez, Jim Miller, and Edson Barboza.
Henderson, 31, rebounded from his UFC title loss to Anthony Pettis by picking up consecutive wins over Josh Thomson and Rustam Khabilov in 2014, but ended the year on another low note, suffering the first KO/TKO loss of his career at the hands of Rafael dos Anjos. A former record-tying UFC champion, Henderson is currently the No. 5 lightweight on the roster.
UFC Fight Night 59 takes place on January 18, 2015 at the TD Garden in Boston, MA. An updated fight card can be seen below.
Main Card (FOX Sports 1)
Conor McGregor vs. Dennis Siver
Donald Cerrone vs. Benson Henderson
Uriah Hall vs. Louis Taylor
Norman Parke vs. Gleison Tibau
Preliminary Card (FOX Sports 1)
Cathal Pendred vs. Sean Spencer
John Howard vs. Lorenz Larkin
Zhang Lipeng vs. Chris Wade
Patrick Holohan vs. Shane Howell
Johnny Case vs. Frankie Perez
Charles Rosa vs. Sean Soriano
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Sean O'Connell vs. Matt Van Buren
Tateki Matsuda vs. Joby Sanchez