The last two years of Donald Cerrone’s career have been on a decline. After four straight losses from beginning in mid-2019, his last fight with Niko Price last September ended in a disappointing draw.
Next to Joe Lauzon, Nate Diaz, and Jim Miller, “Cowboy” is one of the UFC’s last remaining OGs.
But given his recent skid, UFC president Dana White intended to have a conversation with him about possibly hanging it up.
“He fought back, he’s tough, he’s durable. I love Cowboy, and I know this is gonna f—ng crush him and break his heart, but it’s time to have a conversation with him,” White said in September.
“Let’s talk about stopping. I know what he’s gonna say: ‘I don’t want to stop.’ But we gotta have the conversation.”
When asked about it during the UFC Vegas 26 media on Wednesday, the 38-year-old Cerrone admitted he was affected by White’s planned sitdown. But at the same time, he did recognize the need to slow things down in terms of his career and training.
“Hell yeah, it hurt,” he said. “Of course. But we took a little slower approach this year, and I don’t know. I am getting old. I am. I need to slow my fighting down a little bit, for sure. Let my head heal. But shit, we’re ready.”
Cerrone’s last taste of competition happened in December when he took on former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in a grappling match at Chael Sonnen’s Submission Underground. He says that experience fostered a newfound appreciation for jiu-jitsu and for fighting itself.
“Doing that grappling tournament with RDA was like the best thing I ever did. It really got me excited into jiu-jitsu again,” Cerrone said. “It really got me excited into training and fired up… I shouldn’t say fired up, it’s not like the fire ever left. I hate that term, like, ‘Oh, I had to re-ignite the fire.’ But in a way, I got excited about it again. Fell back in love with jiu-jitsu.
“I keep trying to find the void of the thing that makes me do, like, this racing. It’s the same thing, all day long, I love it. I get so excited and nervous. Saturday, I get to do the most exciting and nervous thing I’ve ever done. And it’s every time, I love it.
“I feel good, team’s good, body’s good. Can’t wait.”
Cerrone will take on his 37th UFC fight this weekend against Alex Morono, who stepped in on short notice to replace Diego Sanchez.