Cowboy Cerrone admitted post-fight at UFC Ottawa that he wasn’t feeling it prior to the fight, or even in the first round. But from the second round onward, he was on his game.
Ottawa, ON — When it comes to Donald Cerrone, the talk heading into UFC Ottawa had been about his “resurgence.” In a sport where fans seem to forget everything but the last two or three fights, Cowboy was on a roll. Wins over Mike Perry (welterweight) and Alex Hernandez (lightweight) suddenly had Cerrone back in the title talk. Cowboy Cerrone (or should it be Papa Cerrone, now?) had clearly embraced the talk — and for almost the first time in his career, had been talking titles.
It all came together Saturday night in Ottawa, although it almost didn’t. Following his main event, Fight of the Night war against Al Iaquinta, Cerrone told media outlets including Cageside Press that “I felt terrible, starting that fight.”
Saying he couldn’t find “it” in the locker room, Cowboy added that he “didn’t want to warm up, didn’t want to get ready, didn’t want to hit any pads, didn’t want to wrestle. Didn’t want to fight until the second round.”
If there was a reason, Cerrone couldn’t pinpoint it. “Today was my worst day. Thank god it’s been 41 fights in Zuffa that I’ve been here, because I was able to like, fake it til you make it, because you fake it long enough, you find it. In the second round, I was like ‘there it is, let’s go to work.'”
Cowboy feels a younger version of himself might have quit. But he realized who was watching — his son and grandmother were in attendance — and in the end, he got it done.
He wasn’t at all surprised by the toughness of opponent Al Iaquinta. “He’s a tough dude, and putting him away is really hard. And finishing him is even harder. I knew he was going to be like Homer Simpson in there.” Iaquinta’s biggest mistake, perhaps, was not attacking Cerrone full-force during that first round, when he wasn’t feeling it. That, however, did not happen. Instead, Cerrone slowly battered, bloodied, and took control of his opponent, though Iaquinta proved too tough to finish.
Moving forward, Cowboy Cerrone has his eye on the title, or one other name perhaps. On the title front, he feels that “for the UFC not to give me a title shot, I would step back, and I would be thoroughly disappointed. I’d be like ‘wow. A guy who’s done all this for the sport.'”
“I don’t trash talk, I go in there and I deliver every time,” he pointed out, “and you’re going to overlook me for somebody else? I’d be like, I’d be really upset, I’d be ‘wow, that’s the company I work for?'”
Cerrone, however, isn’t saying that is what is going to happen. He’s hopeful that he’s now on his way to a shot at gold. Conor McGregor, however, still interests him. “On the flip side, if Conor wants to fight, f*ck yeah, let’s go. Especially in July. I’m ready. Let’s turn and burn, baby.”
Having fallen to Rafael dos Anjos in a previous lightweight title shot, Cerrone also feels he has nowhere to go but up. “What can I say, he went in and crippled me. That sucked. Hopefully this next one’s a little better than that. I can only go up from that, right?”
As to his more recent successes, Cerrone, who remains unbeaten in Canada and has won three straight, doesn’t have an explanation. “I don’t know. I don’t have an answer for you. I don’t have the secret clickbait for you to say ‘Donald’s doing this now.'” Nothing’s changed in his training, or approach to the sport. “We put the work in though,” he said. “That’s a misconception. People think all I do is f*ck off. But we work.” Either before, or after, he has fun.
One big change remains fatherhood. Dad Cerrone is undefeated, 3-0. Fans have latched on to the idea. Son Danger even got a big pop in the octagon post-fight.
“Yeah he did. He’s going to be a famous little baby,” Cerrone said with a smile. “But the most important thing I’m excited about is, teaching him just because I put him on third base, doesn’t mean he gets to just walk home, man. He has a whole life to live, and figure out for himself.”
As to whether fatherhood might be scarier than fighting, Cerrone wasn’t sure. “I don’t know, man. It’s all new to me.”
Watch the full post-fight press scrum from UFC Ottawa with Donald Cerrone above!