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Cowboy Bebop: Donald Cerrone branding the WEC lightweight division

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Donald "The Cowboy" Cerrone (8-0) is set to face "Razor" Rob McCullough (16-4) at WEC 36 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida on November 5, airing live on the Versus Network at 9 p.m. ET.

It will be Cerrone's third fight for the Zuffa-owned promotion, after making a mockery of the lightweight division in Ring of Fire.

In addition to being undefeated in eight fights, he's finished all eight of his opponents by submission.

Not bad for a U.S. Muay Thai Champion that went 28-0 in his Muay Thai career. In fact, Cerrone admits to being bit of a late bloomer in the grappling department.

"I remember when I first started training I was like 'Man, I don't know why people always submit people, that's gay, I just want to stand on my feet'. Then I started learning jiu-jitsu and now here I am submitting people, it's funny."

What isn't funny is the $3,000 fine and eight month suspension he served after testing positive for diuretics following his match against Kenneth Alexander at WEC 30 - a match he won via armbar in just 56 seconds.

Cerrone blames the diuretic use not on weight cutting but rather on his desire to flush his system of the medication he used to treat staph infection - medication that he says wreaked havoc on his system.

"The medication they give you makes you feel worse than the actual [staph infection]. It kind of runs you down and you feel like shit. I shouldn't have done it. I have no one to blame but myself."

It was a rookie mistake, but one that he says taught him a valuable lesson - especially after the Nevada State Athletic Commission overturned the decision and ruled it a No Contest.

Cerrone has only been competing professionally for two years yet has a natural talent for fighting that doesn't stem from a hard-knock life.

"I don't have a bad childhood to blame, I didn't have a father that beat me. I came from a wealthy family and out of a good school district. I can't really point the finger at why I do what I do. I guess I used to think I was a lot cooler than everyone else and would try and streetfight all the time. One of my buddies was like 'Man you think you're tough? Come down and start kickboxing' and I just enjoyed it, it started to become my passion".

Now "The Cowboy" is using some of that passion to make a name for himself in the ranks of the WEC's 155lb division. And speaking of names, what is it about that nickname?

"When I was riding the bulls in high school I used to wear my hat and boots, I still wear [them] everywhere, it's just how it is. My own Grandmom and Mom call me Cowboy, that's just what people call me".

Cerrone was big on the rodeo scene as well as motocross before he discovered fighting. In fact a horrific wipeout on his 4-wheeler hospitalized him with a coma when he was younger.

That experience has left him with little fear of what can happen in a fight. Of course training with Team Jackson doesn't hurt either, a place Cerrone would call home after just a one week trial.

"We have so many good people in different areas that you have to constantly be improving or you're just going to be getting beat all the time. There's always someone better [here at the Jackson camp]."

No question the Team Jackson influence will assist him when he faces the dangerous WEC veteran and fellow Muay Thai practitioner in McCullough. Cerrone looks forward to the challenge, but doesn't want any free passes.

"I want to fight the old Rob, the old Rob that was the champion, the one that comes out and just lets it go, that's who I want. I don't want the timid, scared Rob. I'm looking for a war".

The winner of Cerrone vs. McCullough was rumored to get a title match against WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner at a future event, which Cerrone has confirmed.

"They offered me a title fight even if I didn't want to fight Rob [but] I needed this fight financially and just to get myself back in the ring after having eight months off".

Despite the opportunity, Cerrone is in no hurry to fight for the title. He's confident that his shot will come and has indicated that he still has some unfinished business with a fellow WEC lightweight.

"I wouldn't mind fighting Rich Crunkilton after [McCullough] just because he acted like he hurt his ankle (prior to WEC 34) and skipped out on me. I don't like that".

Crunkilton was replaced by Danny Castillo, who was easily submitted by Cerrone in the first round via armbar.

He may not have things end so easily for him against Rob McCullough on November 5, but he's not going to take any chances. Cerrone has called upon his best friend and training partner, former UFC lightweight Leonard Garcia to help him prepare.

Apparently he doesn't share the same view many fighters do about fighting a friend.

"I try to knock the little bastard out every time we spar - and then we're friends afterwards".

What are friends for?

For more on Donald "The Cowboy" Cerrone, check out the replay of's exclusive presentation of Pro MMA Radio by clicking here.

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