Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone said Thursday that delays in finalizing a fight with Conor McGregor are due to McGregor's demand to be in the main event.
According to ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto, Cerrone said he was informed of the issue by UFC President Dana White during a meeting last week: "Conor won't fight unless it's a main event. I don't know if it's an ego thing or a status thing for him. I don't give a s--t. I'll fight anyone, anywhere, and I stand by that all the time. I guess he's a prima donna and only takes main event spots, I don't know."
Regardless of who his opponent is, Cerrone added that he intends to fight again by July 6.
A potential clash between Cerrone and McGregor first showed up on the radar in January after Cerrone beat Alexander Hernandez.
Following his victory, Cerrone challenged McGregor: "The old man has still got it. This is the fight that the UFC wanted. I wanted [a] top-five [opponent]. I want Conor if he'll agree to it. I'm coming for a belt. Cowboy is back."
McGregor was open to the fight and even said he would step into the Octagon with Cerrone on Twitter:
Cerrone further fueled speculation last month when he made an Instagram post that featured a bottle of Budweiser and a bottle of Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey with the caption: "@budweiser vs @properwhiskey ... July 6th."
Cerrone is sponsored by Budweiser and McGregor is the founder of Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey, and July 6 is the date UFC 239 will be held in Las Vegas.
Despite Cowboy pushing hard for the fight, White said last week that they were "nowhere close to a fight" and that he was looking into other opponents for Cerrone:
The 35-year-old Cerrone owns a 35-11 record with one no-contest in his professional career, and he is still seeking his first title in UFC. Cerrone is now on a two-fight winning streak after winning four of his previous five bouts.
Meanwhile, the 30-year-old McGregor is 21-4, but he is coming off a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October. McGregor is also serving a six-month suspension for his role in a brawl after the Khabib fight, but he is eligible to return in April.
McGregor has long been one of UFC's biggest draws and is used to main-eventing. However, Cerrone has fought all over the card during his career and is open to competing wherever UFC places him.