- Donald Cerrone is focused on his fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 238—and not so much a showdown with Conor McGregor. The lightweight contender touches on that and more in a Q&A with SI.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will stand across the Octagon and look into the eyes of Tony Ferguson on Saturday night at UFC 238 in a pivotal fight that will help determine the future of the Lightweight division.
The fight is an opportunity for the 36-year-old Cerrone to propel himself into a title shot for the UFC Lightweight championship. Lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim Lightweight champ Dustin Poirier and Nurmagomedov are scheduled to fight this September at UFC 242, and the winner of Cerrone-Ferguson will be the top contender for the champion. Never too far from the conversation is also Conor McGregor, who has been rumored as a looming opponent for Cerrone.
The hard-hitting Cerrone spoke with Sports Illustrated about what makes Ferguson so dangerous, his next goal in the UFC, and whether McGregor is worth his time.
Justin Barrasso: In your eyes, what is at stake this Saturday night at UFC 238?
Donald Cerrone: Nothing for me. This is fun. It’s something I enjoy more than anything in the world. I guess it’s just a sickness I have. I got no idea why, but I just love to do it. I enjoy every part, I love the entire journey. Everything about it is all fun for me.
Barrasso: A nonstop topic is the idea of a fight between yourself and Conor McGregor. Not to overlook this Saturday, but is that the fight you are ultimately seeking?
Cerrone: No. After I get past Tony, I’m going to get the belt. Conor, f--- it, he missed his chance, he missed the boat.
Barrasso: So you’re choosing the title over Conor?
Cerrone: Of course. I’m not playing his little games.
Barrasso: What makes Tony Ferguson so dangerous?
Cerrone: He’s just really unorthodox. It’s real crazy to try to get his timing, it’s tough. That’s what makes him so dangerous–his uncanny ability to throw wild sh--.
Barrasso: Do you agree that Ferguson is one of the best fighters in the world?
Cerrone: Sure. I’ll give him that.
Barrasso: Do you have any pre- or post-fight superstitions?
Cerrone: No, not at all. But I know what I’ll do after the fight: I’ll hug my little boy and go to bed.
Barrasso: Is the ace in the hole your coaching staff?
Cerrone: We’ve got a really good team right now. We all get along, we’re out on the ranch together. It’s a lot of fun, we love it. This is 100% a team sport. You need your whole team, your training partner, your coaches, everyone.
Barrasso: Why did you make the change back to fighting as a Lightweight?
Cerrone: It was just time. This was something I needed to do. I’m just not big enough, so this is a better fit.
Barrasso: Would you ever consider a transition into pro wrestling? It’s been successful for Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey.
Cerrone: No, never. I’ve never watched wrestling, I’ve never been a fan of it, I’ll never be a part of it. I just won’t.
Barrasso: How will you be defined? What would you like your legacy to be?
Cerrone: I just want everyone to know that any time Cowboy is fighting, you pull over and watch the fight, man. That’s all I want. Pull over and watch.
Barrasso: What is in store for fans this Saturday?
Cerrone: They brought us in to save this card, and we’re going to do that. Tony’s style and my style are going is going to be one hell of a fight, so don’t miss it.
Barrasso: A final prediction?
Cerrone: I’m going to get my hand raised, that’s a no-brainer.
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.