"It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t take whatever fight was in front of me. I don’t care who the opponent is. I’m ready anytime and I love fighting." - Donald Cerrone
Anytime, anyplace, anywhere.
Those words are thrown around quiet loosely in the fight business as those looking to pick a squabble or land a particular matchup tend to toss the phrase around in the direction of anyone who will listen. While the meaning is self-explanatory, the motivation to use it is to project the idea that a fighter will face anyone put in front of them no matter the circumstance…no matter the situation.
When “Cowboy” throws down the aforementioned phrase, he does it with absolute passion and conviction, and typically throws a few choice words on top to emphasize just how much he means it. The hard-charging lightweight absolutely does not care who gets picked to step inside the Octagon with him. The only element that matters to Cerrone is that he will have an opponent on fight night and there will be a payday on the other side of the ruckus that goes down.
Simply put: The Colorado native loves to scrap, but he loves the toys he’s able to collect from a hard night’s work under the bright lights even more. The 31-year-old Albuquerque transplant enjoys the fruits his profession yields, and the only way to get his hands on the money he wants is to mix it up inside the Octagon.
The latest addition to the list of things bonuses have bought is a new pole barn facility on his ranch 40 minutes outside of Albuquerque that now houses a full-sized Octagon and additional training tools. For a man who has never backed down from an impulse, throwing up a brand new gym was just another day in the books.
“That’s what happens when you get nice bonuses from putting on good fights for the UFC. They help you build s**t that you want,” Cerrone laughed. “I’ve had a gym on my property for the past four years but it was kind of s**tty and wasn’t the greatest. When I finally had the money, I built a brand new, fully insulated facility. I wanted it, so I made it happen.”
Cerrone is also aware that he’s one of the best 155-pound fighters in the world, and being a key player in such a competitive division means he’s going to face every shark in the tank eventually. Therefore, it truly doesn’t matter who wants to sign on the dotted line to fight him and he’d prefer those who want to take a shot get in line and be ready to go.
Take for example the events that led to his next bout getting made. The Jackson / Winkeljohn-trained fighter was originally slated to face Bobby Green at UFC 178, but then the organization finalized their deal with Eddie Alvarez and the Philadelphia native was inserted into the matchup. While the shakeup made headlines around the MMA world, they were just details to Cerrone. He was planning on showing up and throwing down on September 27 as it was, and as long as that plan remained intact whatever else was fine by him.
“It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t take whatever fight was in front of me,” Cerrone said. “I don’t care who the opponent is. I’m ready anytime and I love fighting. If you are a fan of watching people go out there and throw down, then I’m happy to go out there and fight my ass off for you.”
While Alvarez has been heralded as one of the top lightweight fighters in the world for the past seven years, he’s missed the larger scope of recognition due to having to compete outside of the UFC banner. The Team Blackzilians fighter will finally get the opportunity to make his long-awaited debut at UFC 178, and being matched up against Cerrone is a definite indicator that he’s jumping square into the deep end of the proverbial pool.
While the talented slugger has earned acclaim throughout the sport, he will be squaring off with a red-hot Cerrone who has won all four of his most recent outings by way of highlight reel-worthy finish. And while the surging contender believes Alvarez will eventually go on to do very well in the UFC, Cerrone is confident his opponent will have to do so after he recovers that rough start that will be handed to him at UFC 178.
“I hope he comes over the UFC and does very well,” Cerrone said. “Unfortunately, I don’t think he can come over and do very well against me. But I think he’s going to make some waves, man. Eddie is a good guy and I think he’s going to do pretty good in the UFC. Unfortunately he has to make his debut against me and it’s going to be a great fight. I can’t wait. I guarantee this is going to be a fight. I like fighting people like that who don’t back down, stay in the pocket and throw down. That’s what everyone wants to see and I’m always going to show up to give that to them.
“Don’t blink, because it’s going to be fast-paced and action packed. The only thing I wish was different about this fight is that it would be five rounds, but other than that, I’m looking forward to going out there and having some fun.”
In addition to the tilt with Alvarez being another dance on what is undoubtedly one of the busiest calendars in the fight business, it will also be another opportunity to continue his evolution. Cerrone is no stranger to making long runs and winning streaks, but he’s battled with his mental game over certain stretches and has done his best to find the focus to balance his aggression.
Where that element of his game once required preparation in the lead up to fight night, everything has fallen into place for the scrappy striker, and his last four performances have been proof. Cerrone already possesses one of the best killer instincts in the game, and with his confidence brimming at an all-time high, his methodical, stalking approach has been an absolute nightmare for his opposition.
“I just started believing in myself, man,” Cerrone said. “As crazy as that sounds it’s true. I don’t know what the overall switch was that went off in my head but I just started saying, “F**k it man. It’s time to go!” Confidence is an incredible thing.”