Following a six-fight winning streak that includes recent victories over the previously undefeated Myles Jury and former Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez, hardly anyone would deny that Donald Cerrone has earned a UFC lightweight title shot.
And many fighters not going by the moniker Cowboy would think twice about taking another fight before getting a crack at the belt, lest he risk losing the opportunity. Even fewer still would take a non-title fight just two weeks removed from his last bout.
“Yes, I could sit back like every other fighter and sit and wait, but I’m not every other fighter. I’m my own guy and I don’t give a (expletive),” said Cerrone earlier this week. “Bring the fights on.”
Cerrone is also not averse to describing himself as a company man. In fact, he embraces it. The UFC needed someone to step up and fight Benson Henderson when Eddie Alvarez dropped out, so of course Cerrone immediately agreed to the fight, which takes place at UFC Fight Night 59 on Sunday night in Boston.
And why not? The way he sees it, if he’s going to be champion, he’s going to have to fight all the top contenders anyway.
“If I’m going to be the champ, I’ve got to beat everyone anyways. So what is sitting and waiting and holding my position do?” he continued.
That’s not to say that Cerrone doesn’t value a shot at the belt. Of course he does. He also knows that he’s quickly starting to whittle the lightweight division to the point where there’s not much left for him but a title shot. That certainly seems to be his approach: take out everyone else until there is nothing left but the belt.
“I don’t have the formula for the title shot, but … if I beat Ben, who is left?” Cerrone answered when asked if a title shot had to be next.
Champion Anthony Pettis is facing Rafael dos Anjos next, and that fight doesn’t take place until March. If he should win Sunday night, Cerrone isn’t likely to wait for the next title defense to play out. He wants to remain busy, although he feels the title is in his sights.
“I’ll just go ahead and take on Khabib (Nurmagomedov’s) ass. Tell him to come on,” said Cerrone.
“I’ll get that belt. This is the year.”