Donald Cerrone is a difficult man to bargain with.
Finally, after sitting the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight No. 1 contender for the past few months -- and only after a "Cowboy" ultimatum -- did UFC matchmaker Joe Silva and Co. give into the streaking fighter's demands, handing Cerrone his coveted title shot versus 155-pound king Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 17 on Dec. 19, 2015, in Orlando, Florida.
Looking back on his risky negotiating tactics, the antsy 32-year-old believes it paid off.
"I think it did speed up the process," Cerrone told Inside MMA's Ron Kruck and Bas Rutten. "Every day I'd call Joe [Silva] and Dana [White] and say, 'Hey man, if I don't get a fight soon, I'm going to 170.' They'd be like, 'Patience, patience.' Yesterday, I was talking to Joe and I said, 'I had enough, I'm going to 170.' He just goes, 'Just bare with me.' I found out right around the same time ya'll did."
One of the reasons for Cerrone's eagerness to fight has to be because of all the extreme sports he undertakes, as well as all of the work being done to his ranch in New Mexico.
He has to pay off those taxes someway.
His rematch with dos Anjos will be contested under the new and oft-criticized Reebok deal, which he stands to lose $60,000 per fight from. Though long-time sponsors like Budweiser plan on sticking with the No. 2-ranked Lightweight, Cerrone was cautious to admit that the deal affects fighters who are a little lower on UFC's totem pole.
"The Reebok deal is definitely hurting everybody. It's doesn't allow us to put the sponsors -- smaller fighters, not so much me," said Cerrone. "Budweiser and E-Z-GO. Hunt Brothers Pizza and all the other corporate sponsors I have are sticking with me ... thank God."
When he makes his way to the cage, there will be a bit more fuel added to the fire. It was in July that Cerrone decided to stoke the flame on his budding rivalry with the bruising Brazilian, stating that dos Anjos may need to cycle off the steroids before passing a blood test.
The 30-year-old Kings MMA product previously bested Cerrone by unanimous decision in an Aug. 2013 bout. It was his slow start, which he admits, that plagued him in his efforts to overthrow the former and it's something he hopes to change in time for their five-round title match.
"Starting slow. That's what I always go out there and do. He capitalized very well. He hit me hard," Cerrone said. "Maybe starting a little faster. We've got five rounds, man. Cardio is my thing. Five rounds with me is going to be a scary thing for him. Hopefully he trains really hard and does what he has to do. I'll be ready. There won't be a question in my mind that I won't be the new lightweight champion."
Be careful what you wish for Cerrone. Fighting Dos Anjos over five rounds can be bad for your health; just ask previous 155-pound champion Anthony Pettis, who the former throttled back at UFC 185 in March.
Since his Aug. 2013 meeting with Cerrone, dos Anjos has been on just as impressive of a run as "Cowboy." Maulings of Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz earned him the title shot against "Showtime."
Cerrone is equally adept at finishing fighters both on the feet and the ground, having won five career fights by knockout and a whopping 15 by submission. However, if he's able to topple dos Anjos in less than 25 minutes inside Amway Center, just don't ask him to be too ecstatic about capturing UFC gold.
"I guess this is the reason everybody else does this. I don't really give a sh*t to be honest with you," said Cerrone. "I fight to fight to fight. It don't matter to me. Just going out there and having fun; do what I do. It'd be cool to be like, 'I'm the best in the world at something.' That'd be cool to give the belt to my grandma; she'll love it. Other than that, keep kickin' ass and taking names. Doing what I love."