When you fight as frequently as Donald Cerrone does, it’s hard to keep track of which opponent you fought where. This can be only be exacerbated when you factor in late opponent changes, as well as 33 years spent riding bulls, fighting and dedicating each spare minute chasing every adrenaline high imaginable. The man simply known as “Cowboy” has probably had a few memories shaken loose from where they would normally sit.
Cerrone has made the walk to the Octagon 21 times, the same number of appearances Georges St-Pierre accrued over his illustrious career and within arm’s reach of the totals posted by UFC mainstays Chuck Liddell (23), Matt Hughes (25) and middleweight champ Michael Bisping, who claimed the title from Luke Rockhold in his 26th trip into the Octagon.
Of course, Cowboy only started competing in the UFC a little over five years ago, transitioning to the biggest stage in mixed martial arts with the collection of top-tier talent brought over from the WEC.
Like I said, he fights a lot, which is why he’s not quite sure who he was originally supposed to face when he made his sophomore appearance in the Octagon at UFC 131 in Vancouver. He does, however, remember the city.
“Mac Danzig? That’s the vegan dude?” he asked, strutting around backstage at the Aberdeen Pavilion in Ottawa, finished with his appearance at Open Workouts and contemplating whether spending the afternoon bungee jumping two days before his co-main event assignment against veteran Patrick Cote is a good idea. “Yeah, I don’t remember who it was. That was light years ago.
“Vancouver was fun though. It was really pretty and the people were great. We walked around the town, saw Joe Rogan; it was a lot of fun. I wish it wasn’t so hard for to get into Canada for me.”
He lets out a chuckle and chases it with his patented devious grin.
“I’m on this rehabilitation program.”
But after making it into the country and collecting a win over Cote in Ottawa, Cerrone would love the opportunity to return to Vancouver this summer when the UFC rolls back into town.
Since he’s been booked to face Rick Story a week earlier at UFC 202 in Las Vegas, taking part in the August 27 fight card at Rogers Arena is unlikely, but not completely out of the question — this is Cowboy we’re talking about. However it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA native make his way to the West Coast to take in the action and then set out on another adventure.
“Vancouver is beautiful. I’ll probably go up there if the UFC can sneak me back in because that’s a short trip for me,” said Cerrone, who picked up a unanimous decision win over Vagner Rocha in the city back in the spring of 2011. “I’ll go fishing up there. I just want to hammer down on some fish out there. It would be fun to go out there and not (compete).”
Here’s one of the misconceptions people have about traveling the world fighting: while Cerrone’s passport carries a bunch of cool stamps and he’s able to place pins in cities from every continent around the globe marking places he’s fought, very seldom do the athletes and their teams (or the journalists covering their exploits) get a chance to take in even a modicum of what the host city has to offer.
Fight Week has other more pressing needs than checking out the sights.
“The cool thing about fighting is that we get to visit all these cities, but this is the first chance – just because I’m fighting so heavy – that we had an opportunity like yesterday to go walking around the city,” he said of his experience in Ottawa. “Normally you don’t get to do that — you’re in the hotel, cutting weight and you don’t get to experience the city, so I would like to go to Vancouver.
“It’s just one of those spots that would be real cool to go and just check out.”