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Donald Cerrone says he felt Mike Perry’s arm ‘pop’ before UFC Denver submission finish

Donald Cerrone took home the record for most wins and most finishes in the UFC on Saturday night. He almost took home something else, too: Mike Perry’s arm.

“Cowboy” finished Perry via armbar submission at 4:46 of the first round in the co-main event of UFC Denver. The fan favorite, who was on the bottom at the time, caught Perry’s arm from guard, transitioned to an armbar and then went belly down. Perry had no choice but to tap.

Before the very ending sequence even came, Cerrone said he knew “Platinum” was in trouble.

“I felt it pop before I went belly down,” Cerrone said in a post-fight media scrum at Pepsi Center. “So the rest was just tearing the chicken wing off, yeah. I was taking it home with me.”

That pop was apparently the sound of Perry’s arm breaking. The fighter wrote as much later Saturday night on Twitter.

“Cowboy” said Perry made a tactical mistake in his armbar defense and Cerrone seized the opportunity.

“Once I seen the clock, there was 30 seconds left — the monitor was right above me,” Cerrone said. “I was like, oh I better spin for this armbar. I did. He should have rolled the other way out of it, I don’t know why he didn’t. I was like, ‘Gotcha.’ So I went belly down on it. I was just gonna take it until the referee pulled me off.”

Cerrone, 35, now plans a move back down to lightweight after a 10-fight stint in the welterweight division. “Cowboy” is hoping to close out his career with a UFC title.

This fight, though, had some special significance. Perry was representing Cerrone’s former gym, JacksonWink MMA in Albuquerque, N.M. Cerrone got into a messy dispute with Mike Winkeljohn, one of the team’s head coaches, leading to him leaving the squad. Cerrone now trains mostly at his own BMF Ranch. A longtime Jackson’s fighter, “Cowboy” felt Winkeljohn was choosing Perry and money over loyalty, which Winkeljohn has disputed.

The victory was sweet on top of that because it came in Cerrone’s hometown and this was Cerrone’s first fight as a father. He brought his son into the Octagon immediately after the finish to celebrate. Cerrone said he saw his son wearing a cowboy-like belt buckle and boots before the bout and it nearly brought him to tears.

“It didn’t matter what Perry had,” Cerrone said he thought at the time. “I’m coming. Here I come.”

Cerrone (34-11, 1 NC) had now won two of three after a three-fight losing streak. He looked sharp on the feet, but really took over once the fight went to the ground, which Perry initiated with a takedown.

“Super surprised me,” Cerrone said. “When he reached in and took a body lock on me, I wasn’t reaching around and defending it. I was like, yeah, have it. There you go. I just crumbled. And when I was in side control, I was waiting for him to [throw] big elbows. He was just breathing heavy. I was just like, I’ll just lay here and let him tire out and spin and get guard. Yeah, I don’t know why he did that.”

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