When a UFC fighter starts running their mouth, do we really believe what they are saying?
We know they are essentially their own source of marketing and will try to do whatever they can to maintain a buzz surrounding their place in the UFC. Plenty of fighters will claim they’ll fight “anyone, anytime,” but rarely have we seen it exemplified as well as it has been in the case of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
Cerrone walked through Myles Jury at UFC 182 last Saturday — he quite literally kicked the prospect’s butt. Just two days later, he was in the UFC office signing on to fight Benson Henderson for his second fight within 15 days. Some people think he’s nuts. Plenty of fighters, I’m sure, think he’s crazy. However, it has gained the Cowboy even more respect universally.
And the best part of the deal for Cerrone? It’s a no-lose situation.
Yes, that’s right: Cerrone can’t lose. We’ve seen it time and time again when a fighter steps up as a replacement. If Cerrone were to go in against Henderson and lay an egg, he wouldn’t fall far from the top of the food chain. Fans respect him, fighters respect him and, most importantly, UFC President Dana White and the rest of the Zuffa hierarchy respect the hell out of him. It’s a fight without risk, aside from taking a chance on doing too much too soon with his body and sustaining a severe injury.
Of course, the quick turnaround doesn’t give Cerrone much time to prepare, as the fighter stated during a conference call earlier this week when he said, “Prepare? I don’t have enough time to prepare a cake. I’m just going in there to fight. I have enough time to cut weight and get to Boston. There will be no game plan. It’s just a fight.”
Cerrone is taking on Henderson for the third time, and he hopes the third time really is the charm. He lost to Henderson under the WEC banner in 2009 via unanimous decision and again in 2010 by guillotine choke. Now, though, the Cowboy is on a run that has completely changed the opinion of those who follow him in the fight game.
Cerrone would always rattle off a few wins in a row before fizzling out and losing his chance at a shot at UFC or WEC gold. This happened in 2011 when Cerrone fought five times. During that year, he beat Paul Kelly, Vagner Rocha, Charles Oliveira and Dennis Siver before losing to Nate Diaz at UFC 141. Cowboy again worked his way to title consideration in 2012-13 by beating Jeremy Stephens and Melvin Guillard, only to lose to Anthony Pettis to start his 2013 campaign.
So, here we are once again with Cerrone on the verge of doing great things in the Octagon, far greater than any of the fight bonuses he’s earned over the years. Should Cerrone beat Henderson at UFC Fight Night 59 in Boston next weekend, he will no doubt be in line to fight the winner of the championship affair between reigning lightweight kingpin Pettis and challenger Rafael dos Anjos later this fall.
On the flip side of things, Henderson does have quite a bit to lose and it should be questioned whether or not he had the option of pulling out of this fight against Cerrone. He has been training for Eddie Alvarez and now gets a different animal altogether. Imagine the backlash he’d face if he pulled out of the fight because he couldn’t prepare knowing somebody like Cerrone was willing to fight on two weeks’ rest. If Cerrone loses, it could be expected because of the quick turnaround. If Henderson loses, it’s a different story. The fact that he couldn’t beat a “tired” Cerrone would only hurt his chances in his hopes of one day fighting Pettis again.
Cowboy has everything that makes a great UFC fighter in and out of the Octagon. From the “Cowboy” persona to the old-school Budweiser drinking and all the positive interaction he has with fans. On top of all that, he’s winning. He consistently says he will show up to fight regardless of what injuries may be nagging at him. Not only is he true to his word, he is going above and beyond what is expected of him. That’s true Cowboy style.