UFC lightweight victory No. 12 will be one that Donald Cerrone can hang his hat on, as “Cowboy” defeated Eddie Alvarez Saturday night at UFC 178.

Alvarez was making his UFC debut after leaving Bellator as the lightweight champion. And in the early going, it looked like he was going to secure a signture win.

Instead, Cerrone rattled off 10 minutes of complete dominance, nearly finishing Alvarez with a flurry of leg kicks. He admitted to being a little “tired,” as the reason for staying on the ground with his opponent late.

“I think that was one of the best Eddie’s yet,” he said. “He came, he brought it and slugged with me. Hat’s off to that dude.”

Cerrone (25-6) continued to be puzzled by his early-fight struggles, saying “if you are going to get me, get me in the first.”

In that opening five minutes, the two tied up and Alvarez (25-4) slugged away with rights from inside the clinch. Cerrone told himself “not today,” referring to not wanting to be beat.

He has now won 12 lightweight fights, which is third most in the UFC.

Alvarez was finally competing inside the Octagon after a lengthy legal battle between himself and Bellator. He eventually returned to Bellator after the court wars and won the title from Michael Chandler.