Rashad Evans impressed by development of former teammate Donald Cerrone

Coming off of his sixth straight victory last weekend at UFC 137, Donald Cerrone has launched himself into contention for the lightweight title. Cerrone has already had four fights and four victories, three by stoppage, since the UFC/WEC merger in February and is also still expected to fight once more in 2011 at UFC 141 on December 30 against Nate Diaz.

Recently, UFC light heavyweight contender Rashad Evans, a former training partner at Jackson Submission Fighting, spoke about the development of Cerrone’s skills since first arriving at the camp.

“I love to watch the way he’s grown in the sport,” Evans explained to ESPN. “I remember when he first came to Jackson’s gym, he had virtually no wrestling at all – zero wrestling. And his ground was so-so. He was all stand-up. He was one of Duane Ludwig‘s proteges. To watch his growth is ridiculous. I sit and watch how good he’s got and I get chills. He used to come to the gym and he’d live in that gym. He’d practice all day long. He’d practice, eat, take a nap, then practice some more.”

Rashad also commented on Cerrone’s leadership skills at the camp, adding, “Donald’s a leader too. He’s got his guys, but he’s the leader. The work he puts in is paying off.”

Cerrone Unapologetically Authentic

Since submitting Dennis Siver this past Saturday night, “Cowboy” has said he is not even thinking about a title-shot at the moment and that he is focusing on training for his next opponent. When asked whether Cerrone could become UFC champion, Rashad replied by saying, “I definitely think Cerrone can win the title.”

Cerrone’s upcoming opponent, Diaz, is coming off of an impressive submission win over Takanori Gomi at UFC 135 last September. The bout will serve as a co-headliner at the NYE Weekend event with the featured fight of the evening expected to be a heavyweight clash between Brock Lesnar against Alistair Overeem.