For the first time in his Ultimate Fighting Championship career, Donald Cerrone nearly called out of work.
Ultimately, though, “Cowboy did what he always does: He punched the clock and did his best to put on a show in the Octagon. The end result wasn’t what he desired, but Cerrone was still proud of his performance in losing a narrow unanimous decision to Leon Edwards in the UFC Fight Night 132 headliner in Kallang, Singapore, on Saturday.
“This is the first time in my career that I’ve ever almost called Dana White and said, ‘I’m not coming to work today,’” Cerrone said at the post-fight press conference. “And then I looked at myself in the mirror and said, ‘Man, you’re not that guy. Just go.’ But that had nothing to do with the way I fought. I’m proud of myself actually for getting in there and fighting, so I’m happy, I don’t have any remorse. I don’t think I lost any stock, so all good.”
Edwards was at his best in the first two stanzas, attacking Cerrone’s body with kicks and landing punishing elbows in the clinch. In most exchanges, the Englishman appeared to be quicker on the draw than the Jackson-Wink MMA standout, but Cerrone gradually got stronger as the fight progressed, and he only lost by a 48-47 count on all three judges’ scorecards.
“They say don’t leave it to the judges, so I can’t sit here and say anything. I lost the fight,” Cerrone said of the verdict. “Leon was the better man tonight. I hope he takes off and does really well in this sport.”
Considering Cerrone’s state just a few hours prior, it was a pretty solid overall effort for the 28-time UFC veteran.
“I was just sick, throwing up, just feeling... I couldn’t get out of bed, man,” Cerrone said. “I was just feeling like s—t all morning, all day. I just wasn’t feeling like showing up to work is what I was feeling. It’s the closest in my career I’ve ever been to calling the boss and say, ‘Hey, man, I’m not going to make it.’ And then I just rolled over at five o'clock and looked at the mirror and said, ‘You’re not that guy, so get up and lets go,’ and here I am.”
The defeat marked the second time in recent months that Cerrone has squared off against one of the welterweight division’s top up-and-coming talents. This past October, “Cowboy” suffered a first-round TKO defeat at the hands of Darren Till at UFC Fight Night 118. Although he has lost four of his last five Octagon appearances, Cerrone’s passion for the sport has not waned.
“I’m getting old in this sport and I love every minute of it, man,” Cerrone said. “But maybe the new kids are coming, maybe they’re not, I don’t know, but there are sure tough guys out there. There’s not enough people like me that give those guys a chance, so I’m glad I can be the guy that’s in there and I’ll fight any of you guys. Come on, let’s have fun. Tonight, the smiles on my face are more than you can even imagine. The passion I have out there I love it to the core, this is what I enjoy doing, man.
For now, Cerrone isn’t close to calling it a career, as he said he hopes to fight at least two more times in 2018.
“If tonight was my last fight, I’d be upset, but I’m going to go until the UFC says, ‘‘Cowboy’ enough, enough, enough.’”