If the end result is like this, Donald Cerrone probably wouldn’t mind having “off” days on fight night a little more frequently.
Despite admittedly not feeling his best, “Cowboy” won his third straight bout at 170 pounds at UFC 202 on Saturday night, defeating Rick Story via technical knockout 2:02 into the second frame at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Jackson-Wink MMA stalwart looked to be in top form from the beginning, but he really began to pick Story apart in the round two.
There, Cerrone attacked with kicks to the legs and body as well as punches to the head to keep his opponent on the defensive before putting Story away with a multi-strike combination punctuated by a head kick and follow-up punches.
“I woke up with the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life. Today was just one of those off days,” Cerrone said on Fox Sports 1. “I was telling my coach, ‘I don’t feel it. I don’t have the fire.’ We train everyday, you train to beat someone on your worst day. I was in the back just like grinding and trying to find first gear and just couldn’t do it. Second round I came alive. I don’t know, just one of those days.”
It’s all part of the love-hate relationship Cerrone has with his career. these days After another impressive win, his 11th in 12 fights, Cerrone was leaning more toward love than hate.
“This is my favorite thing in the world to do. The feeling of being scared to death and worried and hating it, I talk about retiring every single day,” he said. “Then I go out there and do this and I love it.”
“Every fight is my last fight. Every one, I [tell trainer Greg Jackson], ‘This is my last fight.’ I can’t do it. I can’t take the stress again.”
With those doubts once again at the back of his mind, Cerrone has designs on making another title run in the Octagon — only it isn’t in his new home. Instead, “Cowboy” wants to face recently-crowned lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in New York. Cerrone defeated Alvarez via unanimous decision in the Philadelphia native’s Octagon debut at UFC 178.
“I called out Eddie Alvarez for New York because I already have a win over him and I think I deserve it,” Cerrone said. “I would only go to lightweight again if it meant an immediate title shot though. My coaches love 170, I feel great at 170. I think I can do both, right?”
UFC President Dana White is not too keen on Cerrone returning to 155 pounds, however. In his last outing there, the WEC veteran suffered a devastating first-round loss to then champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on Fox 17 in December.
“I don’t like the 55 [idea],” White said. “He looks amazing at 170. He’s on a roll. Nobody does that to Story, what he did to him tonight. Cowboy looks good at 170 and I’d like to see him stay there.”
In fact, White believes Cerrone could eventually challenge for gold at welterweight, although that could still be a few fights away considering the current state of the division.
“Yeah, of course I could [see him fighting for the 170-pound title],” White admitted.