'Cowboy' hopes to end losing skid, prove he still belongs - Albuquerque Journal

‘Cowboy’ hopes to end losing skid, prove he still belongs

Edgewood resident and MMA icon Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, shown in 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada, is on Saturday’s UFC fight card in Phoenix. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, that old softy, teared up during a Wednesday news conference when asked about the prospect of fighting in front of his son, Dacson, Saturday night in Phoenix.

“Can’t wait till he knows, finally, what I do,” the MMA veteran said, three days before his lightweight fight against fellow veteran Joe Lauzon on UFC 274 at Footprint Center. “It’s crazy how emotional I get, but … anytime I was working out and didn’t want to do it, that’s what I thought of.”

Dacson won’t turn 4 years old until June, so one might wonder how much of Saturday’s fight he’ll actually be able to understand.

One also might wonder, though, how many more opportunities there will be, if any, for Dacson to see his dad in action.

At 39, Cerrone (36-16) has been fighting on borrowed time for a while.

Without question, the Edgewood resident’s place in MMA/UFC lore is assured.

He’s tied for No. 1 in career UFC victories at 23 with Jim Miller and Andrei Arlovski, Cerrone’s former teammate at Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA. Saturday’s fight will move him into a tie at No. 2 with Arlovski, one behind Miller, in career UFC appearances at 38. He’s No. 2 in UFC career finishes with 16 – two behind Charles Oliveira, who’s scheduled to face Matt Gaethje in Saturday’s main event.

Cerrone’s No. 1 all time in knockdowns (20), No. 3 in significant strikes landed (1,717).

So, yeah, Dacson, your pop’s had a heck of a career. But he’s also lost his last five fights, not including a fight declared no contest.

It’s not as if Cerrone’s been fighting bums. Four of those five losses, to Tony Ferguson, Gaethje, Conor McGregor and Anthony Pettis, came against fighters who have worn UFC title belts.

But three of the five, vs. Gaethje, McGregor and Alex Morono, came via first-round knockout/TKO. UFC President Dana White, who makes his handsome living in the punching/kicking/choking business, has expressed concern for Cerrone’s health.

It could help in that regard that Lauzon (28-15), while absolutely not a bum, is more like Cerrone than like Gaethje or McGegor – an aging (37) veteran who has lost four of his last six fights.

It also could help, Cerrone said, that he trained for this fight not at his BMF Ranch in Edgewood but in Las Vegas, Nevada, taking full advantage of the facilities at the UFC Performance Institute.

“I don’t know why every fighter doesn’t move to Vegas (for fight camp),” he said. “… That facility and everything they have in place for fighters to succeed is un(expletive)believable.”

The change of scenery, Cerrone said, enhanced his mental focus as well.

“For me, there is not one box unchecked,” he said. “I did everything I had to do.”

Obviously, Cerrone wants to win on Saturday. Clearly, he wants to show the MMA world that, at 39, there’s fight left in the Cowboy.

“I woke up and I was like ‘Let’s do this,'” he said. “Let’s do everything I need to do to be successful so there’s no questions in my mind, shoulda, woulda, coulda. … Let everybody know that you (expletive) belong here.”

At the same time, he’s at peace with the knowledge that, win or lose, his place in the sport is permanently etched in the record book.

“I also look at the flip coin of that and I say, ‘I have nothing else to prove.’ I’ve set records, I’ve been here, I’ve stayed here, I’ve done what I need to do to look at myself in the mirror.

“I’m here for legacy now. This is just for me.”

And of course, for Dacson.

LFA: Albuquerque welterweight Jalin Fuller (6-1) is scheduled to face Kyrgyzstan’s Myktybek Orolbay (6-1) Friday on LFA card in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The card will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass, starting at 7 p.m.

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