Justin Gaethje used punches to score a technical knockout of Donald Cerrone in the first round of the main event Saturday at UFC Vancouver.
"Highlight" controlled all four minutes and 18 seconds of the fight, opening the bout with a few leg kicks before delivering additional damage with his fists.
Cerrone disputed the stoppage, which came after a series of blows that knocked him to his knees, but to no avail. While he pleaded with the referee, Gaethje celebrated.
After earning his third straight victory and improving his career record to 21-2, Gaethje angled for a future shot at the UFC lightweight championship.
"The Irishman's retired," he told Daniel Cormier inside the Octagon when asked about a potential match versus Conor McGregor, who hasn't fought in nearly a year. "I want a real fighter. I want the winner of Tony (Ferguson) and Khabib (Nurmagomedov). I want to fight Khabib before he's gone and if Tony wins, nobody's going to miss that fight."
Cerrone was looking to rebound from his first-round loss to Ferguson at UFC 238 in June but was instead dealt his second consecutive defeat. "Cowboy" assured the Vancouver crowd that chanted his name throughout the bout that he intends to keep fighting.