For anybody who hasn’t seen Donald Cerrone fight, we always show them his match against Rick Story back in 2016.
There are other grittier, and way bloodier, fights in his record, sure. But almost nothing comes close to the succinct and sniper-like quality of that fight on the Diaz vs McGrgeor 2 card. Ruled a TKO win via punches, the striking combo that set off that finish was pure and vintage Cowboy: that straight to the head, a body shot, and then a body kick, that hit a curled up Story square in the temple, is the epitome of kickboxing elan in the Octagon.
Precise, swift, and deadly. Memes of him going Super Saiyan on Story abound.
“I see those combos, definitely. You just practice them so much they become muscle memory, and man, you can just feel when one of them is going to work right there in the moment,” said Cerrone, just as intense and full-on in person last April 29, at the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas, in town for his Asian media tour.
See, the Colorado-native is poised on the cusp of record-breaking greatness. The 35-year-old welterweight will attempt to earn a 21st victory, career-defining in that Cerrone’s record in the Octagon is 20-7. If he does win, he surpasses both Georges St. Pierre and Michael Bisping, two former champions whop also currently holds the same win record as cowboy does.
Edwards is the kind of fighter that Cerrone was and also at his physical prime, being nine years Cowboy’s junior. A true up and comer, Edwards is on a five-fight winning streak dating back to May 2016. The most recent being just March of this year, when he defeated peter Sobotta via TKO. During the post-fight interview, Edwards called out Cowboy and, Cerrone simply being true to his Wild West, gung-ho nickname, instantly took the fight with no hesitation.
Cerrone recently just broke a three-fight losing streak against Yancy Medeiros last February and while he’s glad, he declared that the career-defining record would just be a bonus. His mission is still to defeat “Rocky” Edwards.
Also on the card is Filipino flyweight Jenel “The Demolition Man” Lausa (1-2 UFC), who goes up against Ashkan Mokhtarian from the Australian Top Team.
We spent a few minutes chatting with the UFC’s Cowboy and he opened up about his insights on the fight game and about his “fight anyone” approach to life and combat sports.
On being known for his “fight anyone, anywhere, anytime” mentality
A lot of people say that [they’ll fight anybody at anytime] but they don’t actually mean it. I can’t be the guy that says I’ll do it and then they offer me a fight and then I say “well, except for that.” I hold true. And when I call the UFC I go just give me a date and I don’t really care about the opponent. No exceptions. Just give me something to work for and a date to find out.
On fighting Leon Edwards
Fuck, Leon [Edwards]! He says he’s been calling for me a number of times for months now [on social media] or something I guess? But I’ve never heard anything about that so I don’t know how true that is. He says he’s been woofing but he got his wish! No specific game plans for Leon. Just go in there and fight my ass off. I wish I had a recipe to give you but I don’t. He’s going to come hard and he’s going to come in fast but I’ll weather the storm and I’ll just make it happen, man.
On the advantages of being a veteran in MMA
[Leon Edwards] is not ready for me yet. He calls me old but he’s young in this sport, you know. It takes time and maturity learning to handle all this. He’s underestimated what it takes to be in this sport. He’s underestimated me. I’m not the same guy he thinks I am.
On his BMF Ranch and Gym in Colorado
It was hard for sure yeah when [BMF] was starting. A lot of the times it just sits there empty and the reason why is I just built it for me. It’s there so I can get the best training that I can. I kept building and it just gets bigger and better. Hell, I’m not going anywhere so I’m excited. I have a whole staff to run that [BMF Ranch] facility. I don’t do nothing. I just wake up and train and I act like I’m a student at my own gym. I don’t run the gym and I don’t do classes.
Photo by Tanya De Mesa
On possible re-matches
I wouldn’t mind another fight with [Nate] Diaz. Bring that shit back on. Other than that, up and comers, old timers, newbies. It don’t matter, man! Just give me a fight.
On fighting in Asia
I’d like to go back to Japan. I love it, I grew up fighting there with the kickboxing. Hong Kong would be cool, too; just crazy busy. Singapore is pretty cool, super clean city. The geographics and the building architecture are unbelievable. Blown away by how modern and clean that city was. I’m excited to fight there. I’m excited to be here right now.
On UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley
Woodley? He don’t really fight. for somebody with a record like mine who likes to fight and go up against someone who doesn’t really like to that’s tough. So when I get through Leon and I get into the top five or six there’s a big traffic jam up there. It’s like trying to drive here in Manila. I see the easy path and I go “who wants to fight?” and I say to them let’s go. That’ll probably continue to happen because I’m a fighter I don’t like to sit and wait.
On his possible life after MMA
When I’m done and I turn the corner, I’m going to be a big fat lump of shit and I won’t look back. Yeah, that’s my plan. I won’t ever train again. I’m never looking back.
On young fighters always gunning for him
I just had a big shoot the other day and I couldn’t even sleep the night before. I was buzzed to get to the next day. Competing is something I’ve done my whole life and I really wouldn’t know what I’d do without it.
UFC Singapore happens on June 23, 2018 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium
Photography Tanya de Mesa