Donald Cerrone knows that his mixed martial arts career is coming to a close, but “Cowboy” would prefer to go out on his terms.
The 36-time Octagon veteran is winless in his last five UFC appearances. After his last bout, a majority draw with Niko Price at UFC Fight Night 178 on Sept. 19, Dana White suggested it was time to have a conversation with Cerrone about retirement.
“For him tonight, the win for him tonight, he was on his way out in the first 30 seconds of the first round,” White said at the card’s post-fight press conference. “He fought back, he’s tough, he’s durable. I love ‘Cowboy,’ and I know this is going to f—ing crush him and break his heart, but it’s time to have a conversation with him.”
Cerrone dismissed the notion at the time but more recently, the BMF Ranch founder acknowledged that his career does have a shelf life.
“This is the last run,” Cerrone said in a video posted to his YouTube channel. “This is it. I don’t have much left in me, timewise. If I’m going to really say this is my last run, really give it all. I’d rather go out when I want to. Go perform, enjoy it and then kick off the boots while I’m still flying through the air, call it a day. Not get cut, or everyone telling me I need to slow down or stop.
“I want to retire when I want to retire. I don’t care about what everyone else wants to say. Realistically, I’ve probably got a couple years left. That’s probably four or five fights left in me.”
Cerrone is currently mired in the longest winless skid of his professional tenure, but there’s one defeat that haunts him more than the rest — and that’s the 40-second TKO loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 246 in January.
“Talk about not wanting to be there. That was me fight day. I didn’t want to be nowhere [near that fight]. Slow starter, no starter, didn’t want to be there,” Cerrone said. “That was me. It sucked. On the biggest stage, still to this day that’s the biggest pay-per-view sold fight ever, right? Everyday I look at that poster like it sucks. That’s good. I need that motivation.
“Talk about the biggest letdown ever. That was it. Biggest moment to shine. That kills me all the time. Like quitting. Didn’t even want to be there. That burns.”
Cerrone says that he plans on competing exclusively at lightweight for the final stretch of his career. He hopes to return to the Octagon next year to begin to change the narrative regarding the twilight of his career.
“I got two years left. Let’s go. Let’s make these the last, the best,” he said. “If it’s going to be my last ride, I want to ride the biggest and baddest and jump off while she’s still kicking and go.”
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