Donald Cerrone has a long history of being the man Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) can call if it needs an exciting fighter to step up on short notice to kick some ass. But right now “Cowboy” is in a bit of a precarious position with his career. He’s winless (0-4-1) in his last five outings, and UFC President, Dana White, was talking like this horse may be headed to the glue factory sooner rather than later.
So when Cerrone’s original UFC Vegas 26 opponent Diego Sanchez fell out, it was a big question: Would Cerrone still fight? Would he take a more difficult, less known opponent on a week’s notice when his ability to continue fighting might hang in the balance of the results at UFC Vegas 26, which takes place this weekend (Sat., May 8, 2021) in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Hell yeah he will. Cerrone now faces Alex Morono, who fought to a close decision loss against Anthony Pettis in Dec. 2020.
“Situation-wise, I can’t be the one who says he’ll fight anyone anywhere anytime ... except for this time,” Cerrone said at the UFC Vegas 26 media day. “But no, as a team we were like ‘Man this doesn’t do anything for us,’ it doesn’t do anything at 170, it damn sure doesn’t do anything at 155, so we were like ‘Should we just pull back and wait a little while?’ Then we were like ... naaaah. So we’re good.
“I saw Dana and we talked about it and he was like, ‘Hey man you do whatever, you’re the guy I’ve never had an issue with so I’m not telling you to fight. I don’t need you, if you want to wait, go to 155, it’s on you, do whatever you want to do.’ So I waited a couple days then said we’re in,” he continued.
Man, we’re really hoping UFC is throwing Cerrone a nice fat stack for staying on this card. He didn’t even get pay-per-view (PPV) points on the Conor McGregor fight. Pay the man! Or at least guarantee a loss to Morono won’t leave him unemployed.
“I’m not on a four-fight win streak. It’s actually the opposite,” Cerrone said. “Like I don’t wanna be in here fighting for my job, I don’t want to come to you like ‘Man I shouldn’t have done that.’ But all that aside, that’s not even in my thoughts, like ‘I have to win.’ I get to go in, I get to fight, I get to do what I love. I feel great.
“We took a little slower approach this year,” he continued. “I am getting old. I am. I need to slow my fighting down a bit. Let my head heal. But s—t, we’re ready. Doing that grappling tournament with Rafael dos Anjos was the best thing I ever did. It got me really excited into jiu-jitsu again. Got me excited into training and fired up. I hate that term, ‘Oh I had a real re-igniting of the fire!’ But I really fell back in love with jiu jitsu, and am excited to go out there and participate.”
Beyond the jiu-jitsu, it sounds like Cerrone has been working on his warm ups to avoid a slow start and his head movement to avoid becoming a punching bag like he’s been in previous bouts.
“I’m sure his team are like, ‘Go in there and swarm this motherf—ker in the beginning. If you’re gonna get Cowboy, you’re gonna get him early,’” he said. “So we’re going to be getting rounds one and two out of the way in the back so I can come out there f—king ready to go. I wanted main event, I would have loved five rounds. I don’t know if the kid can go five.
“I still have malicious intent on hurting a motherf—ker, I’ve got the Diego fire still,” he concluded. “So I plan every punch and kick to be lethal and I don’t want this kid making it out of the first round. So when he watches this: know I’m coming, motherf—ker. So when you come hard and fast, I’ll be ready.”
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 26 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+/ESPN “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET.
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