Chasing paper is what Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has become known for. In 2011, Cerrone fought a total of five times, racking up four “Fight Night” bonuses to the tune of $290,000.
In 2012 Cerrone has fought only twice, but he put a little extra in the bank when he collected $120,000 for “Knockout of the Night” and “Fight of the Night” bonuses at UFC 150. Unless the UFC is looking for an emergency injury replacement the odds are that we are not going to see Cerrone step foot inside the Octagon until sometime early in 2013, when he hopes to face Anthony Pettis.
Talking about the relative lack of activity, a smiling Cerrone told Bleacher Report, “It’s brutal, my bank account’s feeling it.”
Cerrone has been looking for a fight with former WEC champion Pettis since Cerrone defeated Jeremy Stephens in May of this year. Following that unanimous decision victory, Cerrone said he wanted to fight at UFC 150 in Denver, and why not make that fight against Pettis?
Cerrone got half his wish, competing on the UFC 150 card, but not against his desired opponent. Instead he faced Melvin Guillard, collecting the aforementioned bonuses during the 86-second fight.
The fight was one of the increasingly rare occasions where two friends and training partners had faced each other inside the Octagon.
As far the fight affecting their friendship, Cerrone said that was a non-issue, before and after the UFC 150 bout.
“Oh no, we texted each other, everything’s good," he stated. "Like I said, once he (Guillard) moved down to Florida our communication kind of slowed up a little bit, we text each other back and forth. No hard feelings, I don’t think either way and there were really no hard feelings going into that fight.”
Looking ahead to the matchup with Pettis, the trash talk and animosity between the two has been steadily growing to the point where they were talked about as potential coaches for season 17 of the The Ultimate Fighter, but with the recent announcements that Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen would be coaching opposite each other and a longer-than-expected injury rehab for Pettis, that coaching opportunity never came to fruition.
As Cerrone said about the gig going to Jones and Sonnen, “Obviously we got overrun by a bigger, badder wolf.”
Cerrone would have welcomed the opportunity to coach opposite Pettis, saying “That would have been awesome to be a coach against him, that would have been fun, it’d be entertaining, but I just want to fight.”
For now it looks like Cerrone will fight Pettis in January. He said that nothing is set in stone as far as date or location, but the fight looks like it is going to take place, “Nothing’s set, they just keep telling us, mid-January, end of January, be ready for January.”
Going back to the TUF coaching gig—while a great opportunity, Cerrone feels that it would have delayed his fight with Pettis even longer, putting him out of the cage for almost a year, stating, “You know January will be a quicker opportunity to fight, if we were doing the show it (the fight) would have been delayed until June or July.”
For now, Cerrone is keeping busy trying to stay in shape and tending to the ranch he owns in New Mexico.
As far as the ranch, Cerrone said, “Everything’s good on the ranch. The gym we got down there’s going good, we got guys coming and going, everything’s going really well. The animals are fat and fed, I just need to keep fighting so I can keep them fat.”
While Cerrone has made it clear that the fight with Pettis is the right fight to take career-wise, he also made it clear that if the UFC called looking for an injury replacement he’d be more than willing to step up.
“If they call me tomorrow and say let’s go, let’s go," he said. "Pettis is definitely in line for No. 1 contendership so taking the right fight, he’d be the one to wait for and that’s what I am doing, but if someone got injured, I would definitely step up and fight.”
After all, he needs to keep the animals fat and fed, right?