“Hell no, where’d you hear that from?” Cowboy Cerrone would like to make clear one thing: there will be no retirement this weekend, regardless of how things go at UFC Vegas 11 against Niko Price. “Not even in my train of thought,” he insisted at this week’s media day for the event.
Donald Cerrone (36-15, 1NC), at 37 recently a father for the second time — “The first one ain’t even out of diapers yet, so it’s double diaper duty. Double sh*ts,” Cerrone joked Wednesday — is in the midst of a four-fight losing streak. An unprecedented skid in his lengthy career.
But no, retirement is out of the question. And really, it seems like the UFC might just keep Cerrone around forever, or at least as long as he wants to continue fighting. There’s been no bigger company man, after all.
“I’d like to say that,” Cerrone agreed, “but I’d also on the same breath, I don’t even want to think about losing again, because it ain’t gonna happen. I’ve trained my ass off, ready to rock n’ roll.”
Cerrone, alongside Jim Miller, has been the UFC’s most active fighter, ever. He’s been in big fights, repeatedly. Consistently entertained. And to hear him tell it, he wants to leave on his own terms.
“I plan on being here for a long time. I’m going to leave when I’m done. I don’t ever want the walking papers,” Cowboy exclaimed. When he’s done fighting, he added, “I’m going to bend my hat and say ‘alright boys, I’m out.’ I don’t ever want to have them call my manager and release me. That would totally suck. But I’m going to keep fighting my ass off.”
Talk of retirement, and his current losing streak, is enough to get Cerrone fired up. And he revealed that he’s taking a different approach to the fight against Price. Not only has he been sparring more, but despite the four-fight losing streak, he’s putting less pressure on himself.
“This fight’s for me, man. All the naysayers, all the people that say ‘you’ve lost four in a row, you don’t belong, you should be retiring,’ I don’t give a sh*t,” Cerrone excalimed. “I don’t care if I need to prove to anything or even if I prove something, this one’s just for me. I gotta look myself in the mirror Saturday morning and go ‘let’s go baby, this is for you Cowboy’ and I can go have all the fun I want, with no expectations, no must-wins, no must-dos, no nothing, just go and fight my fight and love every second and have fun and enjoy it. And that’s why I’m going to be victorious. No matter how the fight comes out, this one’s for me.”
Cerrone is back at welterweight for the fight this weekend, which comes down to that simply being what was offered. “Phone rang, they said ‘Nike Price, 170.’ I said ‘Sounds good.’ That’s about how the conversation went.”
Opponent Niko Price has been trading wins and losses of late. For Cowboy Cerrone, it’s his fighting style that matters most. “I get more excited when I know that Niko’s a guy that doesn’t shy away,” he pointed out. “He’s going to be right there in my face fighting the whole time. Should be fun.”
“He’s got the ‘I don’t give a f*ck’ switch. Just keeps coming forward,” he later added. “Gets hit, gets hit, gets knocked down, dude still tries to find a way to win. That dude’s very unorthodox, very wild and crazy. That’s what’s most dangerous about Niko, the unwillingness to just sit down and quit.”
UFC Vegas 11 takes place this Saturday, September 19 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event airs live on ESPN+ (TSN in Canada).