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‘I love that guy’ Niko Price says he feels ‘blessed’ to be facing Donald Cerrone at UFC Vegas 11

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UFC welterweight Niko Price is feeling thankful heading into his fight with Donald Cerrone this weekend at UFC Vegas 11.

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The co-main event for this weekend’s UFC Vegas 11: Covington vs. Woodley is an intriguing welterweight bout which promises plenty of action. It features the exciting Niko Price taking on wily Octagon veteran and bonus-hunter Donald Cerrone.

Price, who comes into this fight with a 19-4 (1 NC) record and six UFC wins under his belt, spoke to the media about the moment he found out he would be facing off with a future Hall of Famer.

“I had three minutes of frozenness,” said Price (ht MMA Junkie). “Then I just kept reading [the fight offer] over and over. Then I told my wife to come here and read it to me, and she realized what she was reading to me and she was like, ‘Really?’ And I’m like, ‘You’re reading it.’ And then I got ready to fight him. I had to put that all behind me.”

Price admitted that a major factor for his excitement was not just the fact he had an opportunity to get a W over the biggest name he’s ever faced—it was because he is such a huge fan of Cerrone, too.

“I watched videos of him and tried to do what he does. I love that guy. He’s a beast – great style, great person, great fighter, class act. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him sour. I learned my sportsmanship from someone like him.”

“I’m blessed,” continued Price when talking about being matched up with ‘Cowboy’. “I have blessings upon blessings upon blessings on me. I’m trying to capitalize all these blessings that I get and show you guys that I’m worthy to be here and that I’m not alone up here. Even though it may look like it, I’ve got God by my side.”

Price made his UFC debut back at 2016’s UFC 207 in a fight with once-highly touted prospect Brandon Thatch. Price submitted Thatch in the first round. Price followed that up with knocking out Alex Morono, though that fight would be ruled a no contest after Price tested positive for marijuana.

Next up Price TKO’d Alan Jouban and then got submitted by Vincente Luque. He beat George Sullivan in January 2018 and since then he has alternated between wins and losses, scooping three Performance of the Night bonuses along the way.

His most recent fight was this May inside the short-lived Jacksonville bubble, at UFC 249. There he was defeated by Luque again, this time due to a TKO (doctor’s stoppage) after a grueling battle.

Cerrone is one of the most experienced—with respect to cage-time—UFC fighters on the planet with an overall record of 36-15 (1 NC). Since joining the UFC, after ZUFFA’s aquisition of WEC, Cerrone has repped the UFC 35 times, facing the majority of the last decade’s most notable fighters at 155 and 170 lbs.

This year Cerrone has fought, and loss, twice in the Octagon. In January he took a quick TKO defeat to Conor McGregor at UFC 246. After that he lost to Anthony Pettis by unanimous decision. Those losses put Cerrone on a four-fight losing skid and a record of 4-8 in his last 12 fights.