Being a dad has added new motivation for Cowboy Cerrone — but it has also added another wrinkle to his fight camps, as he juggles fatherhood and fighting.
Ottawa, ON — Donald Cerrone loves fighting, that much is well known. He’s been a standard of the UFC, and WEC before that, for what seems like forever. 40+ fights between the two banners, tops for the Zuffa-era. Little has changed with the beer drinking, adventure seeking Cowboy Cerrone — save for fatherhood. Ahead of UFC Ottawa, he was quick to admit, as he has several times of late, that fatherhood has changed him. It wasn’t something he expected.
Cerrone explained that, and how training camp goes these days, at Thursday’s UFC Ottawa media day. Where he expressed gratitude at having an opponent in Al Iaquinta that he can be cordial with.
“This is a sporting event man, this is what we do. Just because we fight, doesn’t mean I have to hate you,” Cerrone exclaimed. “Me and Al were out here in Ottawa, doing a media tour, we did a couple of interviews together. It was like ‘why can’t we be cordial?’ You don’t have to like me, but let’s at least be cordial, we don’t need to have bad blood.”
“It was kind of a relief to finally have a guy that could stand there, and just shoot the shit a little bit. I don’t think the trash talk helps any more, or not,” Cowboy added. For his part, earlier in the day, there wasn’t much trash talk from Iaquinta, either. Knowing the reputation of both men, come Saturday, it won’t matter.
After all, as Cowboy later noted, “I just love it. I love training, sparring, fighting. Saturday night, to me, there’s nowhere I’d honestly rather be other than in that ring, fighting.”
The birth of Dacson Danger Cerrone has underscored that. It’s something Cowboy Cerrone has spoken about before. “It’s like a primal feeling. I remember before I had the kid, even when I first had the kid, I was like ‘pfft.’ It’s so cliche, when people talk about ‘now you have something to fight for.'” Cerrone, however, was quickly proven wrong. “Man, it’s insane how you do [have something to fight for],” he admitted.
Cerrone’s fatherly instincts even kicked in when he took his son to get his shots recently. Just seeing his son cry, after a (necessary) needle set him off. “Seeing him in that pain, I was like, ‘I get it man.’ If someone ever did something to one of my kids, there’d be no turning back. It’s wild.”
Danger is in town with him for UFC Ottawa, an extra little bit of motivation. He’s been with his dad all through training camp. Which sounds like, if you’ll excuse the reference, something out of Three Men and a Baby. “Thank god I have such a good team with me, because Lindsay [Cerrone’s partner] works. She’s going to school to be a doctor. So she has all these clinics and internships she has to do all day, she works like fourteen hours.”
In the meantime, watching Danger during camp is a group effort. “We have the baby all day. My team takes turns, watching him when I’m training. It’s cool. He’s there all day long, it’s fun man.” Though, Cerrone added, “sometimes it’s tough, because you don’t get a second to yourself any more. So for everyone out there trying to have a kid, they take every ounce of your time. You don’t have any time to watch your phone, they want to play with your phone, they want to touch this, he wants to crawl over here, he wants to be held, he wants to be down, he wants to cry. It’s like ‘aww you little f*cker, just give me a minute!'”
“Training camp — tougher, for sure,” deadpanned Cowboy. Then added with a smile “But I love him, man. It’s cool.”
Cowboy Cerrone returns against Al Iaquinta in the main event of UFC Ottawa (UFC Fight Night 151) this Saturday, May 4 at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON. The card airs live on ESPN+/TSN.