Donald Cerrone hasn’t tasted victory in UFC competition in his last six appearances, but the popular veteran remains determined to keep plugging away until he can exit the sport on his terms.
Cerrone suffered a first-round technical knockout defeat at the hands of short-notice foe Alex Morono in the UFC on ESPN 24 co-main event on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. A counter overhand right from Morono put Cerrone on the defensive, and “Cowboy” was unable to recover as his opponent swarmed with follow-up strikes to force the stoppage at the 4:40 mark of Round 1.
“It’s just a rough day in the office,” Cerrone told ESPN. “This game can get changed, all it takes is one big shot. He hit me with a good one, set me back. Hit me with another one. I could hear my coaches say grab a hold of him and it’s like I don’t know if I can take three of them.
“The kid came hungry, ready, no excuses on my end. I was ready. We warmed up great, came out started early, who knows.”
During his current six-bout winless streak, Cerrone has suffered four technical knockout defeats, and over a 37-bout UFC career, he has now been stopped via KO or TKO eight times. After his last Octagon appearance — a majority draw against Niko Price in September — UFC president Dana White indicated the need to have a discussion with Cerrone regarding his future.
“I’ve got to have this conversation and see what he says,” White said at the time. “I know what he’s going to say – I don’t want to stop. But we’ve got to have the conversation.”
Cerrone was adamant then that he wasn’t done, and his tone was largely the same on Saturday night.
“Absolutely not. No way. I’ll never go out like this,” Cerrone said. “I will, 100 percent I’ll know and I’ll come in and s—t hopefully I go in whipping ass right off. There’s no way I’d end like this. I couldn’t let my legacy end like this.
“But I’ll call the boss man and say ‘hey man, I know it’s been a rough couple years but when it’s time, let me bow out right.’”
At the moment, Cerrone remains at a loss to explain his current slump. His plan was to return to 155 pounds before an opportunity arose to settle the score with former Jackson-Wink MMA stablemate Diego Sanchez in a welterweight bout. When Sanchez was released by the promotion ahead of UFC on ESPN 24, Morono stepped in on short notice. It still sounds as though the BMF Ranch founder would prefer to go back down to lightweight for his next Octagon appearance.
“Heartbroken for sure. I don’t know. Don’t know what to answer you on is it that time. I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t feel like it but how I feel and how I perform are two different things. It sucks. Who knows. I wanted to go back to 55, those boys at 70 hit hard, they’re big boys, but like I said, no excuses. That kid came in, he was ready.
“It’s definitely hard to break a streak, isn’t it? I need to break the damn streak cause it’s brutal. I wish I had the answers but I don’t.”
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