“Had I not gained a point, I would have lost the fight.” There’s no better way to describe Cowboy Cerrone following UFC Vegas 11 than dejected. While another fighter might take solace in fighting to a draw against a tough opponent like Niko Price, to Cowboy, that’s a loss.
“2020’s not my year,” Cerrone exclaimed, speaking backstage at the UFC Apex following his UFC Vegas 11 co-main event. Well, that’s not an uncommon sentiment. But then, most of us aren’t fighting in a cage for a living.
Cerrone withstood a firestorm early in the bout, with Price unloading forty or so strikes in the opening minutes of the fight. “All camp, all week I felt good. I thought Cowboy was going to show up. Then I got in there, and I think I was wondering how many punches I could take until I got knocked out,” Cerrone told the media. “I had a serious talk with myself, like there was a one time where I almost dropped to a knee, it’s like ‘you f*cking p*ussy, let’s go!’ Meanwhile he’s unloading on me.”
While you might see just surviving, and keeping the fight close, as a positive, Cerrone said simply that “I’m very upset with myself. I don’t know how else to say it, but I definitely count this as a loss.”
A draw on paper, the difference wound up being a couple of early eye pokes from Price. The first drew a warning. On the second, the ref deducted a point. A rare case of a fight being officiated properly in that regard.
Still, Cerrone just wasn’t happy with what he showed on Saturday. “For somebody who’s out there fighting to keep his job, it wasn’t a very good job interview.”
“If Niko wants to do it again, I told him we’ll run this one right back,” he later added. Which to Cerrone would give Price the chance to get a win, and Cowboy the chance to really show up. Just don’t expect it next month on Fight Island. “Let me have January or February. I’ll take the rest of the year off.”
“I’m going to go snowmobiling, play with my little kid, take some time, have some fun,” said Cerrone. “I don’t know what else to tell you guys, other than I did not have fun tonight, I did not enjoy it, it sucked, and I got beat. That’s five in a row. Five losses on a row.”
That’s a lot of criticism on Cowboy’s part. Lest you worry one of the UFC’s legends is about to hang them up, however, think again. “No. No no no no no. Don’t stress that by any means,” he said when asked about retirement. “I just need to figure out something that I’m doing wrong.”
Cerrone noted that “I’m really hard on myself.” He certainly was. By no means was Cerrone blown away in the bout. And as he noted, “Niko came prepared.” That was clear to those watching, as Price’s strong start seemed to target Cerrone’s well-known tendency to be slow out of the gate. But having said all that, Cowboy also promised one thing: “I’m fighting for my job next time.”
Presumably not literally. Competitive in his last two “losses” against Price and Anthony Pettis, it does feel like Cerrone will be one of those fighters for whom losing streaks matter less to the UFC. After all, despite being a Cowboy, he’s also been a company man for years.
Watch the full UFC Vegas 11 post-fight press conference with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone above.