After eight wins in a row and a spectacular performance at UFC 187 last Saturday, where he broke John Makdessi's jaw with a headkick, Donald Cerrone is finally ready for a shot at the UFC's lightweight title. This latest victory seems even more impressive, considering that he went into the fight with a serious rib injury, he sustained about halfway through his preparation, according to his coach Greg Jackson.
"He injured his ribs a little bit and it was pretty bad", Jackson told MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani post-fight at UFC 187. "I'm worried about (my fighter's) health, that's number one. The fighting is great, it's a sport. And as a person, I worry about Cowboy, so I wanna make sure that he's all right."
"So I'm like: 'This looks pretty bad', but he's like: 'Nope, I got it, I'm good, I'm good, I'm good'. And I said: 'Ok, if you're good, then we gotta go all in. If you're gonna go, you gotta go all the way. You gotta heal, you gotta make sure, you do everything right'. And once he said: 'I'm gonna do it, no matter what', I was like: 'All right, then we're in, let's do this thing'."
Jackson left the decision to fight or not to fight to Cerrone, who wouldn't pull out, even after his original opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov suffered a knee injury three weeks before the fight. If it would have been up to Jackson, however, he wouldn't have let Cerrone fight
"Yeah, just because I worry about his health, you know? It was a bad injury. He will never be like: 'Oh it was bad', but I know bad, I've been doing this 22 years. He's a tough son of a gun. My hat's off to him. I was against it, but the second, my guys are like: 'I'm gonna do it', I have to be... like that's my guy, so I go all in. I think of every strategy, everything I can do to help, so we're gonna roll the dice and run it."
Donald Cerrone is now going to face the last man to beat him, tough Brazilian Rafael dos Anjos, for the 155-pound UFC title. Anjos scored a unanimous decision victory over Cerrone in August 2013. No date for their rematch has been set, yet. But according to Jackson, Cowboy, who has already fought three times this year, won't need a lengthy layoff before he returns to the Octagon.
"No, the guy is like Wolverine, he is just healing right up."