UFC Fight Night: "Cowboy" is out to impress only one person - Albuquerque Journal

UFC Fight Night: “Cowboy” is out to impress only one person

Donald Cerrone, left, shown fighting Anthony Pettis during a UFC 249 mixed martial arts bout May 9, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla., is back in action Saturday on the UFC Fight Night card from Las Vegas, Nev. (AP Photo/John Raoux)


UFC Fight Night: Colby Covington vs. Tyron Woodley, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Niko Price (main card); Jordan Espinosa vs. David Dvorak, Jerome Rivera vs. Tyson Nam (prelims). Streaming: 3 p.m. prelims, 6 p.m. main card

Same meat, different gravy.

At that moment, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone was discussing the difference between fighting in front of a crowd and doing so in a largely empty arena. He’ll do the latter Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, due to COVID-10 protocols, against Niko Price.

As Cerrone’s philosophy of life and career, though, that comparison might still apply.

Whatever comes, he’s ready.

Cerrone, who lives and trains in Edgewood, long has been one of MMA’s most popular and entertaining fighters. But at age 37, having lost his last four fights, he was questioned this week about his future — or lack of it — in the UFC should Price (11-4) make it five straight defeats.

Managing to be angry, dismissive, profane and hilarious all at the same time, Cerrone wasn’t having any of it.

First, in a WebEx interview earlier this week, he was asked if he would consider retiring were he to lose on Saturday.

“Hell no,” he said. “Where’d you hear that? No, no, no, no. Not even in my train of thought. Wrong question.”

Later, he was asked if he feared the UFC would cut him were he to lose five in a row.

“I’m gonna leave when I’m done,” he said. “I don’t ever want the walking papers, you know what I mean? … I don’t ever want them to call my manager and release, me, you know? That would totally suck.”

Cerrone said he’s fully focused on beating Price. Yet, as he’s said before, victory is not the only thing that motivates him.

And if he has anything to prove, he said, it’s not to the naysayers.

It’s to himself.

“This fight’s for me, man,” he said. “… Just for me. I’ve got to look at myself in the mirror Saturday morning, where I go, like, ‘Let’s go, baby. This is for you, Cowboy.’ And I’m gonna go have all the fun I want with no expectations, no must wins, no must do’s, no nothing.

“Just go and fight my fight and love every second and have fun and enjoy it. That’s where I’m gonna be victorious no matter how the fight comes out. This one’s for me, so there’s no wrong way this fight can go.”

Cerrone (36-15) can be fairly described as UFC royalty. His 23 victories on the circuit are the most ever; Saturday‘s fight will be his 36th UFC fight, tying him at No. 1 with Jim Miller. If he can stop Price short of the prescribed distance, he’ll break a tie with Charles Oliveira for the most finishes with 17.

All of that, combined with his charisma, is why the idea of the UFC letting him go — win or lose on Saturday — seems unthinkable.

Heavyweight Andrei Arlovski, Cerrone’s former teammate at Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA, lost five straight from January 2016May 2017. But Arlovski, popular and never in a boring fight, has fought eight times since and has another fight scheduled in November.

Meanwhile, Cerrone fights to support a growing family: wife Lindsay, son Dacson Danger, 2, and newborn son Riot River.

“Being a dad’s crazy, it’s fun, awesome,” he said. “Can’t wait to get home and see (River) again, man.

“But I’m here at work, here to get a job done, and support them. So I’m excited and moving forward and planning on having a couple more.”

A couple more fights? A couple more kids?

No doubt.

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop


Rick Wright: Fight shows Perez needs to be in ...
Like many people, Aaron Angel Perez ... Like many people, Aaron Angel Perez could stand to drop a few pounds. But not for the same reason as ...
Combat sports notes: Lovato rewarded for her persistence
After at first not succeeding, Amanda ... After at first not succeeding, Amanda Lovato didn't merely try, try again.She tried, t ...
Brothers Perez split on pro boxing card
In a bout always tactical but ... In a bout always tactical but never dull, tense yet intense, Diego Elizondo defeated Albuquerque's A ...
Perez brothers highlight pro boxing's return to Albuquerque
Brothers Abraham and Aaron Angel Perez ... Brothers Abraham and Aaron Angel Perez last fought on the same boxing card five years ago as amateur ...
Jackson-Wink MMA bans troubled Jon Jones
Jon Jones has been banned from ... Jon Jones has been banned from Albuquerque's Jackson-Wink Mixed Martial Arts Academy until further n ...
Sugar Ray assuaged Rivera's bitter memories
On Aug. 12, 1979, 9-year-old Albuquerquean ... On Aug. 12, 1979, 9-year-old Albuquerquean Andy Rivera saw Sugar Ray Leonard fight for the first tim ...
MMA: Impressive win for Garcia
Knock Steve Garcia down at your ... Knock Steve Garcia down at your own risk. If you do, he’ll just take you to the ground and do bad things to you. ...
MMA: Garcia’s ready
Rio Rancho MMA fighter Steve Garcia ... Rio Rancho MMA fighter Steve Garcia (11-4) weighed in at the lightweight limit of 155 pounds on Friday for his fight Saturday against Texan ...
MMA: Holm out of Oct. 16 card
Holly Holm’s scheduled Oct. 16 fight ... Holly Holm’s scheduled Oct. 16 fight is off after the Albuquerque MMA fighter suffered meniscus damage in training, her agent, Lenny Fresquez, said via ...