Donald Cerrone dreads to think what could happen if he loses to Niko Price at UFC Vegas 11 but, whatever the outcome, ‘Cowboy’ plans to leave the UFC on his own terms, in his own time.
Many critics called for Cerrone to retire following his unanimous decision loss to Anthony Pettis at UFC 249 but, even on a four-fight skid, the UFC veteran plans to keep ‘fighting my ass off’.
“I don’t even want to think of losing and all the things that could happen, because I’ve trained my ass off and I’m ready to rock and roll, but I plan on being here for a long time,” Cerrone told the media ahead of UFC Fight Night 178 (h/t Steven Marrocco of MMA Fighting). “I’m going to leave when I’m done. I don’t ever want the walking papers. When Cowboy’s done fighting, I’m going to bend my hat and I’m going to say, ‘Alright boys, I’ve had enough, I’m out.’ I don’t ever want to have them call my manager and release me. That would totally suck.
“But I’m going to keep fighting my ass off. This fight’s for me, man. All the naysayers, the people that say you’ve lost four in a row, you don’t belong, you should be retiring, I don’t give a sh*t. I don’t care if I need to prove anything. I don’t care if I prove something. This one’s just for me.
“I’ve got to look at myself in the mirror on Saturday morning and when I go, ‘Let’s go, baby, this is for you, Cowboy,’ I get to have all the fun I want, with no expectations, no must-wins, no must-dos, no nothing. Just go and fight my fight and love every second of it and enjoy it. And that’s how I’m going to be victorious, no matter how the fight comes out – this one’s for me.”
Cerrone went on to warn Price — who is seven years his junior — that ‘old man’ Cowboy is ‘f-cking more ready than ever’ ahead of UFC Vegas 11.
“The Pettis fight got me excited about training and having good time with the whole training and sparring and fighting and jiu-jitsu,” he said. “So I was already in a good place, and then we had these new group of kids that have been coming up and training at the Ranch, and the young, new fighters, they love sparring, so that’s what we did – a lot of sparring, a lot of training, a lot of playing. And it re-light the fire that I had. I would look forward to those days again. I would look forward to having fun. Such as weird career path, this fighting game.
“But my message to Niko with all this sparring is, never underestimate the old man when the guys die young in this sport. I’m still here, I’m still fighting hard, and I’m f*cking more ready than ever.”
UFC Fight Night 178, which will see Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington square off in the main event, takes place Saturday, Sept. 19 at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.