Despite the crushing setback he suffered this weekend, Donald Cerrone remains focused on adding an elusive Ultimate Fighting Championship belt to his already-legendary trophy case.
It was a case of so close, yet so far again for Cerrone on Saturday night in Vancouver as he came up short against Justin Gaethje in a pivotal lightweight bout that pitted the UFC’s fourth and fifth-ranked 155-pounders and served as a likely title eliminator. Despite the loss, “Cowboy” says he’s not done yet and that he still has his sights set firmly on getting the belt before he retires.
Cerrone versus Gaethje was all that it was hyped to be as both men stood in front of each other and exchanged until “The Highlight” landed a flush shot on Cerrone in the opening round which dropped him, prompting referee Jerin Valel to intervene soon after. Cerrone was in good spirits after the fight despite what he considered a premature stoppage, and claimed he is still gunning for that belt (via MMAFighting.com):
“I don’t feel like I’m passing the torch yet,” the 36-year-old Cerrone said. “I’m going to get the belt. It’s going to happen. I guess I just slid down the rankings a little bit.
“I’m going to come back. I’m going to train hard and I’m going to get it. It’s the last thing I’ve got to do with my legacy.”
Cerrone, who has become known for his “anyone, anytime, anywhere” approach to fighting, said he’s seeing other UFC fighters trying to replicate his legacy.
“That’s really cool. I see people trying to fight a lot and trying to be like ‘we’re trying to do it like you are’ and it’s cool to have that legacy that people want to adapt,” Cerrone said. “I’m stoked. I love this sport. There’s not anywhere else I’d rather been in there tonight.”
Despite all his records -- Cerrone is the UFC’s all-time leader in wins, finishes, knockdowns and post-fight bonuses, and is tied for the most fights -- the belt is still something that eludes him, and he says the loss won’t dampen his goal of becoming a champion.
“You can have the greatest legacy ever in the world but if I don’t have a belt, I just fall a little bit short,” Cerrone said. “Now me reflecting on everything, that’s the one thing I want.”
Cerrone concluded that he won’t feel like a failure if he’s unsuccessful in getting the belt because it will give him a valuable life lesson to pass onto his son, Danger.
“On the flipside of that if everyone says you try so hard and you never get it, is it going to crush you? No, I tried,” Cerrone said. “That’s something I can teach my boy. I tried. I gave it hell.”