UFC lightweight Donald Cerrone set lofty goals for his fighting career in 2014. He wanted to fight six times & make a habit of finishing his opponents with some regularity. He didn’t reach the number of fights he hoped for, but he did earn four of the most impressive victories of his almost decade-long career.
First came a head-kick KO of Adriano Martins in March. Then came a submission over Edson Barboza in April. Next up was a head-kick finish over Jim Miller in July. And most recently, a career-best decision victory over Eddie Alvarez serving as the co-main event at September’s UFC 178.
But when “Cowboy” looks back on 2014, it won’t be the victories that stand out. No, because as most know by now, Cerrone is a guy who lives for the simple pleasures in life – the fun stuff.
“At all the cool [expletive] I bought,” said the 31-year-old to yeahstub.com as a guest on Majority Draw Radio when asked how he will remember his benchmark 2014.
The lack of nostalgia isn’t surprising, as Cerrrone has never been one to reminisce, “A lot of fighter will look back on a win and milk it for six months,” he said. “So, for me, the next thing I’m worried about is Myles Jury on January 3rd. The rest? I don’t give a [expletive]. That’s behind me.”
As Cerrone prepares for the undefeated Team Alliance standout, in Jury at UFC 182 in January, the subject of his last fight against Eddie Alvarez is a topic of much discussion. Prior to his fight with the top-ranked newcomer in September, one of the major knocks on Cerrone throughout his career was his inability to shine when the stage was at its brightest. After an extremely rough first-round that saw Cerrone almost finished by a ferocious barrage of knees, punches and elbows from the challenger, the Cowboy managed a rousing unanimous decision comeback, earning the coveted Fight of the Night bonus in what was one of the better fights this year.
And, no, getting beat up early on was most assuredly not apart of the game plan, “My plan was to go out there and kick his ass,” he said laughing. “Homer Simpson’ing the fight is not the plan; let the [expletive] go out there and beat on you until he’s tired — not a good plan.”
Cerrone puts the lightweight division on notice; if they want to beat Cowboy, they better get to him early. Because unlike in prior years, the sometimes-inconsistent scrapper finally has a fresh perspective and beaming confidence to go along with his wicked skill-set.
“I was talking to a buddy of mine – who’s not a religious guy — and he was just talking about God to me from a non-religious standpoint. He said, ‘If people kill for God, and invest time and money; if they took that time and energy and invested it in themselves think about what they can do.’
Once that idea, or credo was planted in Cerrone’s head, the confidence started to build. Admittedly, he’s always been a beast inside the training room at Jackson/Winklejohn in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but over the years he has began the process of removing any and all doubt before he enters a fight.
It’s natural for a fighter to have nerves, or doubt. These are healthy emotions that every fighter must battle with as they prepare for their eventual championship push. Now, at 31, Cerrone finally feels like the dangerous veteran he always knew he was.
Simply put: Donald Cerrone finally believes.
“That’s how I feel now, like I’m a veteran,” he says with a hint of excitement. “Like Myles Jury’s little [expletive] [expletive].
“He’s coming. I’ve been in the game a long time, and I’ll be [expletive] if I’m just gonna second guess [myself] and think that this little kid is just gonna come and take my lunch money – ain’t gonna happen.”
As Cerrone prepares to meet the undefeated standout in Las Vegas at UFC 182, he admits to being aware of his opponent’s existence on planet earth, but that’s where the love fest ends, “I don’t even know who he’s fought,” said Cerrone. “Once again, I don’t know anything about the kid, I don’t follow him. I know he fought Diego Sanchez. If that’s his mark stone of where he’s at in his career — that he beat Diego Sanchez—then all right. But if you can give me some other big names that he’s beaten, or gone to wars with, I’d be happy to hear that.”
“You’re talking about undefeated, sure; I could get my girlfriend to get her undefeated to [expletive] undefeated at 22-0 if I wanted to – you feel me?
“I could get her to be undefeated. I could go that route. I want to know the talent he’s fought. Has he fought the [expletive] killers? I’ve fought the who’s who, everybody.”
And by the time Cowboy’s winter showdown in the desert rapidly approaching, Cerrone finds himself once again on the cusp of UFC gold. If he can manage to get past Jury, it will mark six wins in a row for Cerrone, and would supplant him atop one of the UFC’s most talent-rich divisions. And when the time finally does come for MMA’s resident adrenaline junkie to snag promotional glory, he has some very specific plans.
“Probably when I win that UFC belt, I’m gonna take it sling it underneath my RV and head on my [expletive] way, and that’s probably where it will sit.”
A modern day MMA Cowboy riding off into a blood red sunset, his RV filled with expensive toys – it’s easy to get the feeling that Donald Cerrone wouldn’t have it any other way.
(Note: To listen to Donald’s entire conversation with National MMA Examiner Ryan McKinnell, head over to Majority Draw Radio: HERE)